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The botany of friendship and love: flowers and emotional practices in the Gjörwell family, c. 1790-1810
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2016 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of History, ISSN 0346-8755, E-ISSN 1502-7716, Vol. 41, no 3, 410-426 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines the interrelation of objects and emotion in a bourgeois Swedish family influenced by the 18th-century concept of sensibility – the Gjörwells. Headed by noted publicist Carl Christoffer Gjörwell (1731–1811), this family served as the centre of a large circle of friends in late 18th-century Stockholm. One of the unifying aspects of this group was an expressly emotional relationship to the aesthetics of natural scenery. In this setting, pressed flowers became important emotional tokens frequently exchanged in letters between family members, friends and couples. Using Monique Scheer's concept of emotion as a form of practice, this article examines how flowers were used in the practices of communicating emotion, remembering loved ones and emotionally significant events as well as experiencing pleasant emotions. Furthermore, this article demonstrates how flowers as objects facilitated the expression of intimacy and the upholding of social ties within this group, paying special attention to the gendered aspects of these practices. By focusing on the intersection of emotion and objects, this article contributes to the growing research on emotion and material culture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2016. Vol. 41, no 3, 410-426 p.
Keyword [en]
history of emotions, material culture, flowers, 18th century, Gjörwell, Sweden
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-125572DOI: 10.1080/03468755.2016.1179825ISI: 000380708000009OAI: diva2:968967

Special Issue: Gender, Material Culture and Emotions in Scandinavian History

Available from: 2016-09-13 Created: 2016-09-13 Last updated: 2016-09-13Bibliographically approved

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Lindblom, Ina
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Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies
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