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March 26 2013

The plot thickens... Why are British novels becoming less emotional, and US ones more so?


Do American writers express more emotion than their British counterparts? A scientific paper, just published, has concluded that Stateside writers are champions at emotional incontinence, streets ahead of glacial, buttoned-up, clenched-buttock Limeys.

The Expression of Emotions in 20th Century Books, is the promising title of the study by four academics at Bristol, Stockholm, Sheffield and Durham universities. The quartet reached their conclusion by taking a number of “mood-words”, expressive of strong feelings, in six categories – Anger, Disgust, Fear, Joy, Sadness and Surprise – and seeing how often they appeared in “roughly 4 per cent of all books published” between 1900 and 2008.

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