Business of the Heart: Religion and Emotion in the Nineteenth Century

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University of California Press, Dec 26, 2001 - Religion - 401 pages
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The "Businessmen's Revival" was a religious revival that unfolded in the wake of the 1857 market crash among white, middle-class Protestants. Delving into the religious history of Boston in the 1850s, John Corrigan gives an imaginative and wide-ranging interpretive study of the revival's significance. He uses it as a focal point for addressing a spectacular range of phenomena in American culture: the ecclesiastical and business history of Boston; gender roles and family life; the history of the theater and public spectacle; education; boyculture; and, especially, ideas about emotion during this period.

This vividly written narrative recovers the emotional experiences of individuals from a wide array of little-used sources including diaries, correspondence, public records, and other materials. From these sources, Corrigan discovers that for these Protestants, the expression of emotion was a matter of transactions. They saw emotion as a commodity, and conceptualized relations between people, and between individuals and God, as transactions of emotion governed by contract. Religion became a business relation with God, with prayer as its legal tender. Entering this relationship, they were conducting the "business of the heart." This innovative study shows that the revival--with its commodification of emotional experience--became an occasion for white Protestants to underscore differences between themselves and others. The display of emotion was a primary indicator of membership in the Protestant majority, as much as language, skin color, or dress style. As Corrigan unravels the significance of these culturally constructed standards for emotional life, his book makes an important contribution to recent efforts to explore the links between religion and emotion, and is an important new chapter in the history of religion.
 

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Contents

The Businessmens Revival
12
The Anxiety of Boston at MidCentury
41
Overexcitement Economic Collapse and the Regulation of Business
61
Emotion Collective Performance and Value
82
Emotional Religion and the Ministerial BalanceWheel
104
Men Women and Emotion
128
Domestic Contracts
163
Clerks Apprentices and Boyculture
186
Emotion Character and Ethnicity
231
The Meaning of the Revival and Its Legacy
251
History Religion and Emotion A Historiographical Survey
269
Emotion as Heart Blood and Body
281
Emotion and the Common Sense Philosophy
294
Notes
299
Selected Manuscript Diaries Journals Correspondences and Papers
367
Index
371

Prayerful Transactions
207

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About the author (2001)

John Corrigan is the Edwin Scott Gaustad Professor of Religion and Professor of History at Florida State University. He has served as regular or visiting faculty at the University of Virginia, Harvard, Oxford, Arizona State University, University of London, University of Wittenberg-Halle, and University College (Dublin), and as a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome.

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