Een Web van Gevoel: Emotiepraktijken en de reisverhalen van predikant-dichter François Haverschmidt
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In this research the emotional world of Dutch preacher-poet François Haverschmidt (Piet Paaltjens) (1835-1894) is explored. Haverschmidt is often portrayed as a melancholic personality who suffered from great periods of depression, which inevitably led him to commit suicide. The use of medical terminology such as depression and terminology stemming from literary theory like melancholy is criticised in this research as well as the deterministic implication that is retrospectively attached to it. Moving away from this dominant portrayal of Haverschmidt´s inner state this research adopts the analytic use of emotion practises as operationalised by anthropologist and historian Monique Scheer. Discerning between four categories of emotion practises – mobilisation, naming, communication and regulation – four travelogues written by Haverschmidt are analysed. The study of these travelogues not only reveal the complex and sometimes conflicting origin of the emotion practises performed by Haverschmidt, that are best explained by the union of modern Protestantism and romanticism, but also the mundane practises that defined his day-to-day emotional experience. Taken together, a ‘web of feeling’ emerges that moves beyond the medicalisation of Haverschmidt´s mental state and the legacy of his persona primarily grounded in his tragic passing.