The Nature of Melancholy: From Aristotle to Kristeva / Edition 1

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Spanning 24 centuries, this anthology collects over thirty selections of important Western writing about melancholy and its related conditions by philosophers, doctors, religious and literary figures, and modern psychologists. Truly interdisciplinary, it is the first such anthology. As it traces Western attitudes, it reveals a conversation across centuries and continents as the authors interpret, respond, and build on each other's work. Editor Jennifer Radden provides an extensive, in-depth introduction that draws links and parallels between the selections, and reveals the ambiguous relationship between these historical accounts of melancholy and today's psychiatric views on depression. This important new collection is also beautifully illustrated with depictions of melancholy from Western fine art.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Philosophy practitioners will be delighted with The Nature of Melancholy. The book will both corroborate and deepen our current ways of addressing depression. Our work is not just aimed at helping clients suppress their bleak moods, but perhaps even more it is about helping them avoid becoming stuck in that mood, and thus unable to experience—or even acknowledge—that other moods exist, and that melancholy is merely one emotion among many. The book offers an overabundance of morsels of wisdom that can be directly applied in our work with clients. Among them are helping them deepen their attention and focus, especially on their soul; this in turn will make their inner life and their relationships with others richer."—Svetlana Correa, Philosophical Practice

"Lyrical language abounds in [this] compendium of historic and contemporary writings....Hildegard of Bingen conjectures that melancholy descends genetically from Adam, while, more recently, the post-Freudian linguist Julia Kristeva offers a modern theory that suggests an updated version of black bile."—The New Yorker

"Radden's invaluable anthology...scrupulously presents the key texts.... The Nature of Melancholy does an excellent job of tracing the history of efforts to find a language capable of sheltering humanity from that storm [in the mind]."—Times Literary Supplement

"With skill, Radden brings together in a single volume a marvelous collection of essays, excerpts, and writings on what is now usually called 'depression'. [Melancholy] will likely remain central to the human condition, and this book may be the best medicine for it....Radden has written a penetrating and lengthy introduction....Handsome illustrations complement this serious yet inviting work of scholarship."—Virginia Quarterly Review

"...for those who want to investigate the history of our concept of depression and relate it to wider medical and cultural themes, this collection is an excellent resource."—Metapsychology

Library Journal
Radden (philosophy, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston) presents a compelling and accessible history of the identifying and describing Western thinkers have applied to the titular emotional disposition. Each brief chapter situates the chronologically arranged theorist's ideas on melancholy within the larger frame of his or her philosophical, theological, or medical writings and then offers excerpts to demonstrate Radden's theory that, from Aristotle until Freud, melancholy's analysis underwent an accretion process as its place in culture and its role in behavior were examined. After Freud, Radden posits, melancholy lost its organizing status and became a minor category subsumed into the larger realm of developmental psychology. Radden allows readers to consider the theories of Galen, Avicenna, Hildegard of Bingen, Teresa of Avila, Cotton Mather, Goethe, Keats, Baudelaire, and Melanie Klein along the way. This unique history will well serve students, general readers, patients, and caregivers.--Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195151657
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 1,458,115
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Radden is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

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Table of Contents

Part 1: Aristotle to Freud
1. Aristotle (or a Follower of Aristotle), Melancholy, from Problems
2. Galen, Diseases of the Black Bile, from On the Affected Parts
3. Cassian, Of the Spirit of Accidie, from The Foundations of the Cenobitic Life and the Eight Capital Sins Book X Chapters I-IV
4. Avicenna, On Black Bileand Melancholia, from Canon of Medicine
5. Hildegard of Bingen, Melancholia in Men and Women, from Holistic Healing
6. Ficino, Learned People and Melancholy, from The Three Books of Life
7. Weyer, Melancholia, Witches, and Deceiving Demons, from Of Deceiving Demons
8 Teresa of Avila, Melancholy Nuns, from The Interior Castle, and The Foundations.
9. Bright, Melancholy from Treatise of Melancholy
10. Burton, Melancholic States, from The Anatomy of Melancholy
11. Butler, A Melancholy Man, from Characters
12. Mather, The Cure of Melancholy, from The Angel of Bethesda
13. Finch, Countess of Winchilsea, from The Spleen
14. Boerhaave, Chronical Diseases, from Aphorisms Concerning the Knowledge and Cure of Diseases
15. Goethe, Werther's Death, from The Sorrows of Young Werther
16. Kant, Illnesses of Cognitive Faculties, from Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View
17. Pinel, Melancholia, from A Treatise on Insanity
18. Rush, Of the Remedies for Hypochondriasis or Tristimania, from Medical Inquiries and Observations Upon the Diseases of the Mind
19. Keats, Ode on Melancholy, Darkness Sonnet
20. Griesinger, States of Mental Depression, from Mental Pathology and Therapeutics
21. Baudelaire, Autumn Song, Spleen
22. Smiles, On Green Sickness and Wertherism, from Self Help
23. Maudsley, Ideational Insanity, from The Physiology and Pathology of the Mind
24. Kraepelin, Manic Depressive Insanity, from Textbook of Psychiatry
25. Freud, Mourning and Melancholia
Part 2: After Freud
26. Klein, Mourning and Its Relation to Manic-Depressive States
27. Seligman, The Learned Helplessness Model of Depression, from Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death
28. Beck, The Paradoxes of Depression, from Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders
29. Miller, Ties to Others, from Toward a New Psychology of Women
30. Kristeva, Psychoanalysis—A Counterdepressant, from The Black Sun: Depression and Melancholy
31. Goodwin and Jameson, Biomedical Models, from Manic-Depressive Illness

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