Corresponding affections: Emotional exchange among siblings in the Nassau family

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27 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the nature of emotional exchange among the siblings who were the children of William the Silent, the leader of the nascent Dutch Republic. Using evidence from extensive familial correspondence, it asks how the language of emotions could constitute forms of power within the family, by analyzing how actions and expressions of emotion were presented, discussed, and interpreted in epistolary form, to whom, and with what intention and impact. The article studies social, geographic, linguistic, and other distinctions between siblings in their use of affective discourses in correspondence and argues that attention to affective language can help to elucidate the agentive force of emotions in both reflecting and informing notions of power within the family.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-165
JournalJournal of Family History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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