Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226492940 Will Publish December 2017
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226492803 Will Publish December 2017
An e-book edition will be published.

What Nostalgia Was

War, Empire, and the Time of a Deadly Emotion

Thomas Dodman

What Nostalgia Was

Thomas Dodman

304 pages | 17 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2017
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226492940 Will Publish December 2017
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226492803 Will Publish December 2017
E-book $35.00 ISBN: 9780226493138 Will Publish December 2017
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, he 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 connected to Romantic notions of the aesthetic pleasure of suffering. But the decisive shift towards a benign emotion occurred in the colonies, where Frenchmen worried about excessive creolization came to view a 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.
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Nostalgia as a Historical Problem
1 • Nostalgia in 1688
2 • The Reasons of a Passion
3 • The Lost Pays of the Patrie
4 • Mothers and Sons in the Time of Napoleonic War
5 • Golden Age
6 • Nostalgia in the Tropics
7 • Ubi bene, ibi patria: Nostalgia Fin de Siècle
Afterword: Nostalgia in History
List of Abbreviations
Notes
Archival Sources
Index
Review Quotes
Times Higher Education
"“Today the word [nostalgia] connotes poignancy more than suffering, but Dodman's What Nostalgia Was reminds us that nostalgia once referred to a severe and potentially fatal kind of melancholy.”
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