chapter  28
12 Pages

Emotions, Gender and the Body

The Case of Nineteenth-Century German Spa Towns
WithHeikki Lempa

This chapter explains probe spas as urban environments. It investigates the role emotion played in sociability at spas, first as the sites of emotional expectations and then as places of emotional management and regimes. In his comprehensive Bäder-Lexikon of 1883, Robert Fleschig recorded 369 spas in Austria and Germany. The spas were omnipresent in German life regardless of one's social class. In Germanic world, ancient medicine, especially its Hippocratic tradition, experienced a revival towards the end of the eighteenth century. According to this medical theory, health of the human body is a combination of three interrelated natures: nature of human body, its physiological and anatomical constitution. Social bonding is doing, and emotions play a significant role in doing things. Emotives or emotion words do things, argues William Reddy, in that they do not only reflect reality but also have the capacity to alter it. For women, spas were often de-gendered spaces that allowed agency and freedoms not available at home.