How Does It Feel?

Understanding the emotional lives of people in the past is one of the most difficult challenges facing the historian, argues Suzannah Lipscomb.

'The Three Species of Friendship', an illustration from a 15th-century French edition of Aristotle's 'Ethics'. Bridgeman/De AgostiniWhen I worked at Hampton Court Palace one of the questions that visitors often asked was: ‘How did Henry VIII feel when …?’ For the historian, it is a difficult question to answer; it is fantastically hard to chart a history of feelings and to access the emotions of people in the past. 

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