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Banned EmotionsHow Metaphors Can Shape What People Feel$
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Laura Otis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190698904

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190698904.001.0001

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Discouraging Metaphors

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
Banned Emotions

Laura Otis

Oxford University Press

Who benefits, and who loses, when emotions are represented in particular ways? Banned Emotions analyzes the ways that biology and culture combine in metaphors for socially undesirable emotions. These emotions include self-pity, prolonged crying, chronic anger, bitterness, grudge-bearing, and spite. In recent novels and films, metaphors represent these emotions through darkness, filth, impaired motion, and foul smells. These metaphors have obvious bodily sources associated with poor health, but they also draw on a Western religious and literary tradition that associates unsavory emotions with sin. Banned Emotions challenges recent cultural mandates to “let go” and “move on,” pointing out that people who have been hurt by an economic and political system may cherish their emotions as evidence of their humanity, and that calls to suppress their emotions may silence their voices.

Keywords:   emotion, metaphor, self-pity, anger, coercive metaphors, emotional intelligence, simulation, history of emotions, cultural hegemony, social criticism

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