Thoughtlines Podcast Episode 8: Emma Claussen – We Are What We Feel

18 August 2021


Thoughtlines: academic thinking outside the box.


Episode 8: Emma Claussen – We are what we feel 

In this episode we take a long look at what the New York Times believes might be "the dominant emotion of 2021". But what is languishing? And did we really just invent it?

Dr Emma Claussen, a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in French at the University of Cambridge and research associate at Peterhouse College, thinks we certainly did not, and that writers and thinkers have been battling with how to 'beat the blah' (or at least learn to live with it) for centuries.

So, what can voices from the Early Modern period tell us about living a 'good' life in uncertain times? How do the acts of reading and writing help us deal with loss, distance and disappointment? And what do you do when your meticulously documented research term suddenly becomes a media buzzword?

Thoughtlines is presented by broadcast journalist Catherine Galloway and produced by Carl Homer of Cambridge TV.

Subscribe to Thoughtlines on your favourite podcast app.
Learn more:

Follow Emma Claussen on Twitter via @eclaussen.

Emma Claussen's new book Politics and 'Politiques' in Sixteenth-Century France, discussed in this episode, is available from all good bookshops

Read a recent article from Emma Claussen on politics and the Early Modern 'politician': The politician is the malformed monster of our coexistence | Psyche Ideas

Other poets included in Emma Claussen's current work on 'What makes life worth living in Early Modern France?' are Louise Labé and Pierre de Ronsard.

For more examples of cultural history approached through research on keywords and concepts, such as 'languishing', Emma Claussen recommends the group Early Modern Keywords at Durham University.

Read the articles on the modern, viral, phenomenon of languishing from the New York Times and The Guardian discussed in this episode: