The work of Norbert Elias1 has played an important role in the scholarship on the history of emotions, sensibilities, and mentalities, either as an inspiration or as a point of departure, inspiring some and irritating others. Along with Johan Huizinga and Lucien Febvre, he argued vigorously for the importance in social science of taking suffi cient account of human psychology and subjective experience, and one way or another it is diffi cult to engage in the history of emotions without at least referring to his ideas and arguments.2 For many cultural historians his work on court society and the civilising process is a useful stimulus to their own particular concerns.3