An Emotional State: The Politics of Emotion in Postwar West German Culture

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This literary-historical study seeks to dismantle the prevailing notion that Germany, in the period following the Second World War, exhibited an “inability to mourn,” arguing that in fact the period experienced a surge of affect. Anna Parkinson examines the emotions explicitly manifested or addressed in a variety of German cultural artifacts, while also identifying previously unacknowledged (and under-theorized) affective structures implicitly at work during the country’s national crisis. One of the book’s major contributions is that it offers an analytical distinction between emotion and affect, finding a compelling way to talk about affect and emotion that is informed by affect theory but that integrates psychoanalysis. “Offers a truly original, even pathbreaking, contribution to the study of postwar West German culture, while making a very important intervention in the theoretical debate on the study of emotions. Its potential audience includes not only historians and literary critics but the rapidly growing, strongly interdisciplinary community of ‘emotion scholars’.” — Frank Biess, University of California, San Diego
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAnn Arbor, USA
PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
ISBN (Print)978-0-472-11968-4
StatePublished - 2015

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