Shame and Pride: Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self (Paperback)

Shame and Pride: Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self By Donald L. Nathanson, M.D. Cover Image

Shame and Pride: Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self (Paperback)

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This is a revolutionary book about the nature of emotion, about the way emotions are triggered in our private moments, in our relations with others, and by our biology.


Drawing on every theme of the modern life sciences, Donald Nathanson shows how nine basic affects—interest-excitement, enjoyment-joy, surprise-startle, fear-terror, distress-anguish, anger-rage, dissmell, disgust, and shame-humiliation—not only determine how we feel but shape our very sense of self.



For too long those who explain emotional discomfort on the basis of lived experience and those who blame chemistry have been at loggerheads. As Dr. Nathanson shows, chemicals and illnesses can affect our mood just as surely as an uncomfortable memory or a stern rebuke. Linking for the first time the affect theory of the pioneering researcher Silvan S. Thomkins with the entire world of biology, medicine, psychology, psychotherapy, religion, and the social sciences, Dr. Nathanson presents a completely new understanding of all emotion.

Donald L. Nathanson, M.D., (1936–2018) was the founder and Executive Director of the Silvan S. Tomkins Institute. He held the position of Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Jefferson Medical College.

Product Details ISBN: 9780393311099
ISBN-10: 0393311090
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: March 17th, 1994
Pages: 498
Language: English
A comprehensive system for understanding emotion. . . . An impassioned, provocative theory.
— Publishers Weekly

This extraordinarily well-written book combines knowledge drawn from psychotherapy, academic research, and the arts to provide a new understanding of our most intimate experience—the emotions.

— Paul Ekman, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of California Medical School

Shame and Pride is an impressive achievement. Nathanson establishes a solid and systematic foundation for the modern study of affect, much as Erik Erikson accomplished for identity and ongoing development throughout the life cycle. A rich and rewarding experience.

— Richard P. Kluft, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Temple University School of Medicine