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Matters of the HeartHistory, Medicine, and Emotion$
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Fay Bound Alberti

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199540976

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199540976.001.0001

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Humours to Hormones: Emotion and the Heart in History

Humours to Hormones: Emotion and the Heart in History

(p.16) 1 Humours to Hormones: Emotion and the Heart in History
Matters of the Heart

Fay Bound Alberti

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the historical background of using the heart to symbolize human emotions. Before the 19th century general medical practice and literary texts both historically recognized emotions as physical and psychological events felt in, and symbolized by, the heart. However with the emergence of scientific medicine, the heart became an organ of the body subject to decay and the barometer rather than the instrument of emotional experiences.

Keywords:   heart, symbolism, human emotion, scientific medicine, emotional experiences

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