The Book of Human Emotions: From Ambiguphobia to Umpty - 154 Words from Around the World for How We Feel - Tiffany Watt Smith 2016
So much of our emotional life is linked to the landscape. The craggy wilderness of the mountains gave the Romantics their love of loneliness and terror. Many of the inhabitants of northern Europe celebrate a feeling of coziness, the antidote to the flat ground and damp air (see: GEZELLIGHEID). In Russia, the emotion toska (pronounced tas-ka) is said to blow in from Europe’s Great Plains, which sweep from the Pyrenees to the Ural mountains, and brings a maddening “unsatisfiedness,” an insatiable searching. For Vladimir Nabokov, toska was a distinctly Russian emotion, “a dull ache” of the soul, “a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness.” As with so many of these emotions, there are several shades of toska. Over the centuries, philosophers and poets have linked toska to grand metaphysical anguish, but the word is also part of everyday spoken Russian too, capturing the distracted fog of the daily commute, or the yearning of a broken heart.
See also: ACEDIA; BOREDOM; VIRAHA.