Feelings, and Feelings, and Feelings. The Free Thinking Festival Lecture
Is anger constructive? What emotions do we no longer feel? Are there really only 5 or 6 ‘basic emotions’ ? The Free Thinking Festival this year explores the emotions.
The idea of ‘emotions’ did not exist until the nineteenth century but now they are the subject of study and Professor Thomas Dixon was the first director of Queen Mary University of London's Centre for the History of the Emotions. He is currently researching anger and has explored the histories of friendship, tears, and the British stiff upper lip in books Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears and The Invention of Altruism: Making Moral Meanings in Victorian Britain.
Ranging from revolutionary feelings and the sentimental tales of Charles Dickens to the poetic rage of Audre Lorde, in his 2019 BBC Free Thinking Festival Lecture, Thomas Dixon paints a historical panorama of emotions and ends by asking what we can learn from our ancestors about the value of stoical restraint.