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What Nostalgia Was : War, Empire, and the Time of a Deadly Emotion - by Thomas Dodman (Hardcover)

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Nostalgia today is seen as essentially benign, a wistful longing for the past. This wasn't always the case, however: from the late seventeenth century through the end of the nineteenth, nostalgia denoted a form of homesickness so extreme that it could sometimes be deadly.
 
What Nostalgia Was unearths that history. Thomas Dodman begins his story in Basel, where a nineteen-year-old medical student invented the new diagnosis, modeled on prevailing notions of melancholy. From there, Dodman traces its spread through the European republic of letters and into Napoleon's armies, as French soldiers far from home were diagnosed and treated for the disease. Nostalgia then gradually transformed from a medical term to a more expansive cultural concept, one that encompassed Romantic notions of the aesthetic pleasure of suffering. But the decisive shift toward its contemporary meaning occurred in the colonies, where Frenchmen worried about racial and cultural mixing came to view moderate homesickness as salutary. An afterword reflects on how the history of nostalgia can help us understand the transformations of the modern world, rounding out a surprising, fascinating tour through the history of a durable idea.
Number of Pages: 275
Genre: History, Medical
Sub-Genre: History
Series Title: Chicago Studies in Practices of Meaning
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
Author: Thomas Dodman
Language: English
Street Date: January 10, 2018
TCIN: 53143743
UPC: 9780226492803
Item Number (DPCI): 248-55-3758
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$105.00
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