Lucien Febvre’s 1941 call for historians to recover the histoire des sentiments is now routinely evoked by scholars in the wake of the recent “emotional turn” in the historical discipline. Historians would regain their “appetite for discovery” (goût à l’exploration) once they delved into the deepest recesses of the discipline, where history meets psychology, Febvre predicted. His plea followed the aims of a generation of scholars working in the early twentieth century—Johan Huizinga and Norbert Elias among them—who sought to recapture the affective lives of the past. Yet the history of sense and sentiment perhaps owes its greatest debt to Febvre and his colleagues in the Annales School, who, via the study of mentalités and private life, made the study of emotions a serious object of historical inquiry. Some four decades passed before Febvre’s challenge was taken up with any rigor. In the 1980s, the work of Peter and Carol Z. Stearns sought to chart the emotional standards and co des of past societies—something they termed “emotionology.” Since then, over the past three decades the history of emotions has been pioneered by scholars such as Barbara H. Rosenwein and William Reddy in seminal works that introduced us to now classic interpretative frameworks such as “emotional communities” and “emotives.” This burgeoning of interest in the history of emotions has now also found expression in a number of institutional research centers and publication series devoted to the subject.
Appetite for Discovery
Sense and Sentiment in the Early Modern World
“Always Toward Absent Lovers, Love's Tide Stronger Flows”
Spiritual Lovesickness in the Letters of Anne-Marie Martinozzi
In February 1654, Anne-Marie Martinozzi, a niece of Cardinal Mazarin, married Armand de Bourbon, Prince of Conti. The newlyweds went on to experience almost concurrent pious conversions that would transform their social behavior for the remainder of their lives. Shortly afterward, Armand was posted to northern Italy as commander of the French army, necessitating a six-month estrangement of the couple between May and October 1657. This article explores a corpus of “love letters” penned by the princess during this separation. It argues that Anne-Marie not only claimed to be suffering from “melancholy” as a result of her separation from her lover and spouse, but that she also constructed an image of herself as spiritually lovesick on account of her deprivation from her mentor and confidant. In doing so, this article sheds light on the centrality of copenitents to the direction of spiritual lives in the aftermath of a pious conversion.