By Jacky Bowring
A depressive disease or a passing feeling? psychological detachment or a precursor to genius? depression is a severe a part of what it truly is to be human, but every little thing from Prozac to self-help psychology books turns out rationale on elimination all indicators of disappointment from modern life. A box consultant to depression surveys this ambivalent thought and takes a trip in the course of the articulation of depression in quite a few languages, from the Russian toska of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin to kaiho—which is expressed within the dancing of the Finnish tango. depression is located within the old traditions of death’s presence in paradise, the tears of nature, in addition to nostalgia, pathos, and melancholy’s presiding god, Saturn. In modern society, depression turns into a way assertion within the emo tradition. This consultant reveals depression in the paintings of writers comparable to W. G. Sebald and Jean-Paul Sartre, the paintings of photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto and multi-media artist Gerhard Richter, the flicks of Andrei Tarkovsky and Patrick Keiller, the song of Erik Satie and Tom Waits, the structure and landscapes of ruins, and the twenty first century’s predilection for memorials.
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Extra resources for A Field Guide to Melancholy
The dilemma is the same as that embedded in the very origins of deﬁnitions of melancholia: who is to judge when sadness is disproportionate? Added to this are the ﬂaws in deﬁnition that led to such situations as American and British psychiatrists using identical versions of the DSM, with exactly the same group of patients, making completely different diagnoses. Psychiatry persists in attempts to codify melancholia, and recent debate includes such assertions as:‘melancholia, rather than being a dimensionally severe condition, is quintessentially a categorical condition awaiting prototypic deﬁnition as a category’,13 and this is necessary to avoid ‘overdiagnosis’ of melancholia.
The resonances between the artists’ mind-states and their work is often quite transparent, such that the melancholy becomes writ large. 33 Consistent with melancholy’s extraordinarily enduring constellation, the paradoxical relationship between melancholy and heroism or genius remains remarkably stable. Despite small apparent hiatuses, as in the time of Rembrandt andVelázquez mentioned above, the idea of melancholic genius provides a persistent thread in cultural history. Even the artistic and scientiﬁc poles of melancholy concur on the coincidence of exceptional creativ- THE CONUNDRUMS OF MELANCHOLY 41 ity and the melancholic condition – irrespective of whether it is considered a mood or a mental illness allied with bipolar disorder.
Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy – there are numerous 50 A FIELD GUIDE TO MELANCHOLY editions of the book, including digitised versions online from a range of editions. 8. 6. 9. 50. 10. John Mason Good, Olinthus Gregory and Newton Bosworth, Pantologia: A New Cabinet Cyclopaedia, Comprehending a Complete Series of Essays,Treatises and Systems, Alphabetically Arranged, with a General Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Word, Vol. 7, no page numbers. 11. 209. 12. 276. 13. 872. 14. 16. 15. 7.
A Field Guide to Melancholy by Jacky Bowring