Emotions are back in fashion!
Emotions – especially love – have been appearing more frequently in literature in the last ten years. “Love,” although always popular, has skyrocketed in use since 2000, as the Google Ngram shows. So too have the words “sad,” “hate” and “happy.” “Feelings,” too, has seen some growth since the 1960s – though since the “summer of love,” emotions seem to have been less taboo.
Why so much emotion in recent years? It’s difficult to say. Self-help books, many of which explore emotions such as these, have been appearing in greater and greater quantity since the genre was invented in the late 19th century – just before our graph begins – and this may account for the rise of words like “happy.” After all, what do self-help books claim to engender?
Although “love” went into something of a lull after World War One and, on the whole, declined until 1990, it has since experienced a comeback, rebounding from a low of 1.4% to 3% of mentions in the English corpus. This is the most dramatic example, but it is echoed by the other words in this graph.
So how do you feel about that?