The Book of Human Emotions

An encyclopaedia of feeling from anger to wanderlust

Tiffany Watt Smith

Book cover of The Book of Human Emotions by Tiffany Watt Smith

[Watt Smith] treats each emotion with the expertise of a wine taster, showing how it is formed from a mixture of many other emotions.

Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

Bite-size entries on emotions from the universal to the utterly specific. How do you feel? Is your heart fluttering in anticipation? Is your stomach tight with nerves? Are you falling in love? Feeling a bit miffed? Are you antsy with 'iktsuarpok' or giddy with 'dépaysement'?

'The Book of Human Emotions' is a gleeful and thoughtful collection of 156 feelings, both rare and familiar. Tiffany Watt Smith covers the globe and draws on history, anthropology, science, art, literature, music and popular culture to explore them. Each emotion has its own story, and reveals the strange forces that shape our rich and varied internal worlds.

You’ll discover feelings you never knew you had – like 'basorexia', the sudden urge to kiss someone – uncover secret histories of boredom and confidence, and gain unexpected insights into why we feel the way we do.

Originally published in hardback in September 2015.

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About the author

Photograph of Tiffany Watt Smith

Tiffany Watt Smith

Tiffany Watt Smith is a cultural historian and author of ‘The Book of Human Emotions’. Her TED talk ‘The History of Human Emotions’ has been viewed by more than four million people. She regularly appears as an expert contributor on BBC radio and her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the New Scientist and BBC News Magazine, among others. She is Reader in Cultural History at Queen Mary University of London, where she is also Director of the Centre for the History of Emotions. In 2018 she was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize for her research.