A new post on weather and emotion in The Otter/Acadiensis series, “Soundings”

I contributed a post on James Barry, emotion, and weather to NiCHE Canada’s The Otter/Le loutre/Acadiensis, special “Soundings” series that considers new approaches to environmental history in Atlantic Canada. I’m very honoured to be joining notable environmental historians Claire Campbell, Alan MacEachern,  Mark McLaughlin, Josh MacFadyen, and Tina Loo. The entire series is available here on the Otter and here on Acadiensis.

This post focuses on weather and emotion, and I hope to soon have another post here on religion and emotion. These all will form some part of a chapter on Barry and emotion in his biography.

A taste:

I’m reading Barry to understand a rural 19th-century man’s life. Weather, and to some extent climate, have become important to me because it was important to him. I do hope to develop some sort of database on weather. But I’m really wondering what made Barry tick, and weather was part of that. Not only was it important in shaping his work-life, it was important in shaping his emotional well-being. Reading his diary, one is immediately struck by how curmudgeonly he was. Few things ameliorated his mood. While his marriage was not a happy one, his courtship with Bell McLennan in the spring of 1859 marked one of the few sustained periods of lightness in his tone. And his affection for their eldest daughter Josephine was always clear. Fine weather, too, could lighten his mood. Spring freshets and rain after a dry spell, particularly in summer, brought moments of relief, and occasionally elation.  And while he dreaded a dry spell, his language for sunny warm days, though not sunny hot days, usually elicited a brighter tone.

Read the rest here.




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