"This book consists of two parts: The first studies the more general manifestations of feeling: pleasure and pain, the characteristic signs of this form of psychic life, everywhere diffused under manifold aspects; then the nature of emotion, a complex state which in the order of feelings corresponds to perception in the order of knowledge. The second deals with the special emotions. This detailed study is of great importance for reasons which will be explained later on, especially because we must not rest in generalities; it furnishes a means of control and verification. The nature of the emotional life cannot be understood unless we follow it in its incessant transformations--that is to say, in its history. To separate it from social, moral, and religious institutions, from the aesthetic and intellectual movements which translate it and incarnate it, is to reduce it to a dead and empty abstraction. Thus an attempt has been made to follow all the emotions one after the other in the progress of their development, noting the successive movements of their evolution or their retrogression. The pathology of each emotion has been sketched to complete and throw light on the study. I have tried to show that beneath an appearance of confusion, incoherence, and promiscuity, there is, from the morbid to the normal, from the complex to the simple, a conducting thread which will always bring us back to the point of origin. A work which has for its aim to set forth the present situation of the psychology of feeling and emotion might have been made very long. By eliminating every digression and all historical exposition, it has been made as short as possible"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).