University Of Tasmania

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Trauma and emotion in the battlefield correspondence of Andrew Mitchell (1708–1771)

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 03:57 authored by David TaylorDavid Taylor
Andrew Mitchell’s emotional reactions to his battlefield experiences in the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763) are detailed in his correspondence. Mitchell was British envoy to Prussia and its ruler Frederick II from 1756 to 1771. His letters home and to friends during the war were an outlet for his emotional turmoil, often unguarded and often expressed without a framework for comprehending the significance or impact of the emotions he felt. His problems were compounded by contemporary diplomatic theory and philosophy, which actively discouraged displays of emotion, advocating self-control and the construction of an identity best equipped to achieve diplomatic ends rather than truly represent what was felt. Analysis of Mitchell’s correspondence suggests that he used letter writing to make sense of his conflicted feelings and to fashion a viable emotional identity in his difficult situation.


Publication title

Emotions: History, Culture, Society






Student Life and Enrichment



Place of publication


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Copyright 2018 Koninklijke Brill NV

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Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology