Whose Battlefield Emotion?
Reflecting on the chapters organised under ‘The Combatant: Emotional Experience and Writing’ and ‘The Public: Emotional Re-Creation’, Favret notices that many Western European depictions of war in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries cut emotion loose from the body of the combatant. Like the phenomenon of war itself in this period, feelings move on a large and broad scale: not just on the scale of the military unit, but also to the reading public and beyond, to the imaginary entity of the Nation. Something we might call ‘public’ or ‘national feeling’ is being constructed from the representation of battlefield emotion. The donation of so many arms, legs, heads and hearts that no longer feel feed this more abstract and impersonal sensibility.