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Emotion and Narrative
Perspectives in Autobiographical Storytelling

$34.99 (C)

Part of Studies in Emotion and Social Interaction

  • Publication planned for: June 2021
  • availability: Not yet published - available from
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781009045391

$ 34.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Emotions have a life beyond the immediate eliciting situation, as they tend to be shared with others by putting the experience in narrative form. Narrating emotions helps us to express, understand, and share them: the way we tell stories influences how others react to our emotions, and impacts how we cope with emotions ourselves. In Emotion and Narrative, Habermas introduces the forms of oral narratives of personal experiences, and highlights a narrative's capacity to integrate various personal and temporal perspectives. Via theoretical proposals richly illustrated with oral narratives from clinical and non-clinical samples, he demonstrates how the form and variety of perspectives represented in stories strongly, yet unnoticeably, influence the emotional reactions of listeners. For instance, narrators defend themselves against negativity and undesired views of themselves by excluding perspectives from narratives. Habermas shows how parents can help children, and psychotherapists can assist patients, to enrich their narratives with additional perspectives.

    • Proposes a narrative emotion theory
    • Expands upon the scientific understanding of emotion to include extended coping efforts, communication, and facilitation through talking to others
    • Demonstrates the role of narrative form in emotion, coping, and relationships
    • Brings together diverse fields of psychology, sociolinguistics, narratology, and psychoanalysis
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this highly engaging and interdisciplinary book, Habermas integrates philosophy, linguistics, psychology, and psychoanalysis to explore the intersection of emotion and narrative as fundamental to human communication. Narratives both form and transform our emotional experience; Habermas weaves a compelling story that places emotion at the center of human interaction.' Robyn Fivush, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology, Emory University, Georgia

    'This is an outstanding achievement. Nestled within this masterful work, which explores the transformational power of narrating our emotional experiences, is a story of the author’s boundless curiosity, passion, and humanity, which radiate from every page. If you, like me, are fascinated by the role of narrative, you cannot afford to be without this book.' Antonino Ferro, Member of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society and the American Psychoanalytic Association, and Recipient of the Mary S. Sigourney Award

    'This book sheds light on a fundamental axis of our human existence. It clearly and precisely explains the why and how of the daily exchange process in which we tell others what we just went through and we listen to others telling us their own experiences.' Bernard Rimé, Psychological Sciences Research Institute, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium

    'This is the most far-reaching exploration of emotion and narrative to date. It opens up new and compelling perspectives on emotions as a social and communicative phenomenon, on our power to transform emotions through narration, and on the significance of perspective-taking for coping. For the interdisciplinary field of memory studies, it is a true godsend.' Astrid Erll, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

    'No book on the subject of emotion and narrative can hold a candle to Habermas' cutting-edge and wide-ranging monograph. Meticulously researched and cogently argued, this landmark work will be essential reading not only for specialists in emotion psychology, but for everyone interested in autobiographical storytelling and the centrality of narrative to emotion.' Ansgar Nünning, International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: June 2021
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781009045391
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 21 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from
  • Table of Contents

    1. Emotions
    Part I. Emotions in Oral Autobiographical Narratives:
    2. Narrative structure
    3. Narrative evaluations
    4. Narrative perspectives
    Part II. How Narratives Evoke Emotions:
    5. Kinds of emotional effects of narratives
    6. Narrative perspectives guide recipient emotions
    7. Context and incongruencies also affect emotional response
    Part III. Narratives Reflect Defense Against Emotions, and Narrating Helps Cope with Them
    8. Narratives reflect narrators' ability to bear emotions
    9. The healing power of narrating
    10. Working through by narrating experiences repeatedly
    Part IV. Transformative Co-Narratives by Parents and Therapists:
    11. Co-narrating emotional events
    12. Co-narrating in psychotherapy
    13. Narrative perspectives in emotions

  • Author

    Tilmann Habermas, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt Am Main
    Tilmann Habermas teaches psychoanalysis at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt Am Main, Germany. His work on the development of the life story in adolescence has evolved into a sixteen-year longitudinal study of life narratives.

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