Melancholia: The Western Malady, by Matthew Bell

15/09/2014View on timeline


Cultural and historical factors hint at the sources of the difficulty. While there is debate on whether depression overlaps with melancholy and on how much continuity there might be between psychiatric categories and the melancholia that the Western tradition links to genius and to a superior manner of being in the world, depression sometimes retains the dark luster of the ancient black bile and is often accompanied by an exceptionally penetrating reflexivity.


The comparative literature scholar Matthew Bell (2014, xi) insightfully notes: 

One distinctive feature of Western culture is the high status that it has accorded to self-consciousness. Melancholia, or at least the psychological symptoms of melancholia as reported from Hippocrates right down through Western history, depends upon the West’s peculiarly introspective culture. The psychological symptoms of melancholia are, to put it crudely, a disorder of malignant self-consciousness.

Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living)....

Book cover

Description

Melancholia is a commonly experienced feeling, and one with a long and fascinating medical history which can be charted back to antiquity. Avoiding the simplistic binary opposition of constructivism and hard realism, this book argues that melancholia was a culture-bound syndrome which thrived in the West because of the structure of Western medicine since the Ancient Greeks, and because of the West's fascination with self-consciousness. While melancholia cannot be equated with modern depression, Matthew Bell argues that concepts from recent depression research can shed light on melancholia. Within a broad historical panorama, Bell focuses on ancient medical writing, especially the little-known but pivotal Rufus of Ephesus, and on the medicine and culture of early modern Europe. Separate chapters are dedicated to issues of gender and cultural difference, and the final chapter offers a survey of melancholia in the arts, explaining the prominence of melancholia - especially in literature.

Bell, Matthew. 2014. Melancholia: The Western Malady. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Matthew Bell, Ph.D., is a professor at King's College London. His research focuses on intersections...

kcl.academia.edu/MatthewBell

0 comments

Comment

No comments avaliable.

Author

Info

Published in 4/02/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic Chap. 3: Cerebralizing Distress:


Invalid DateCan Neuroscience be integrated into the DSM-V?, by Steven HymanCan Neuroscience be integrated into the DSM-V?, by Steven Hyman
Invalid DateThe Pharma-Psych NexusThe Pharma-Psych Nexus
Invalid DateBooks by David HealyBooks by David Healy
Invalid DateSynthetization of ChlorpromazineSynthetization of Chlorpromazine
Invalid DateIs Evidence-based Psychiatry Ethical?, by Mona Gupta
Invalid DateGlobal Mental Health Movement (GMH)
Invalid DateMental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP)
Invalid DateGlobalization of PsychiatryGlobalization of Psychiatry
Invalid DateWorld Health ReportWorld Health Report
Invalid DateThe bio-bio-bio model of madness, by John ReadThe bio-bio-bio model of madness, by John Read
Invalid DateThe Epigenetics Revolution, by Nessa CareyThe Epigenetics Revolution, by Nessa Carey
Invalid DateThe pharmaceutical industry's turn: from medication to geneticsThe pharmaceutical industry's turn: from medication to genetics
Invalid DateMost recent edition of the Handbook of DepressionMost recent edition of the Handbook of Depression
Invalid DateNosologomania: A Disorder of Psychiatry, by Herman van PraagNosologomania: A Disorder of Psychiatry, by Herman van Praag
Invalid DateMelancholia: The Western Malady, by Matthew BellMelancholia: The Western Malady, by Matthew Bell
Invalid DateCan Brain Scans See Depression?, by Benedict CareyCan Brain Scans See Depression?, by Benedict Carey
Invalid DateThe Neurobiology of Meditation and Mindfulness, by Tobias EschThe Neurobiology of Meditation and Mindfulness, by Tobias Esch
Invalid DateConcentrating on Kindness, an article on Science MagConcentrating on Kindness, an article on Science Mag
Invalid DateLack of evidence of causality in depressionLack of evidence of causality in depression
Invalid DateClassification of Depressive Disorders, by Philip J. CowenClassification of Depressive Disorders, by Philip J. Cowen
Invalid DateThe search for treatment-specific biomarkersThe search for treatment-specific biomarkers
Invalid DateHopes for diagnostic based on identified biomarkers
Invalid DateA Default Mode of Brain Function, by Raichle et al.A Default Mode of Brain Function, by Raichle et al.
Invalid DateWhy Can’t You Be Normal for Once in Your Life? by Judy SingerWhy Can’t You Be Normal for Once in Your Life? by Judy Singer
Invalid DateNeurodiversityNeurodiversity
Invalid DateInfluence of psychoanalytic explanationsInfluence of psychoanalytic explanations
Invalid DateThe Divided Self, by Ronald LaingThe Divided Self, by Ronald Laing
Invalid DatePsychiatry and Anti-Psychiatry, by David CooperPsychiatry and Anti-Psychiatry, by David Cooper
Invalid DateMental Patients' UnionMental Patients' Union
Invalid DateNational Autistic SocietyNational Autistic Society
Invalid DateAutism Society of AmericaAutism Society of America
Invalid DateThe rise of Internet
Invalid DateAutism Network InternationalAutism Network International
Invalid DateNational Alliance for Autism ResearchNational Alliance for Autism Research
Invalid DateCure Autism Now FoundationCure Autism Now Foundation
Invalid DatePetition to the United Nations
Invalid DateThinking in Pictures, by Temple GrandinThinking in Pictures, by Temple Grandin
Invalid DateAcceptance Versus Cure, by Sue RubinAcceptance Versus Cure, by Sue Rubin
Invalid DateFirst Autistic Pride DayFirst Autistic Pride Day
Invalid DateA Mother's Perspective, by Kit Weintraub
Invalid DateWhy I Dislike 'Person First' Language, by Jim Sinclair
Invalid DateAutism Movement Seeks Acceptance, Not Cures, by Joseph ShapiroAutism Movement Seeks Acceptance, Not Cures, by Joseph Shapiro
Invalid DateThe Looping Effects of Human Kinds, by Ian HackingThe Looping Effects of Human Kinds, by Ian Hacking
Invalid DateOn Our Own Terms: Emerging Autistic Culture, by Martijn DekkerOn Our Own Terms: Emerging Autistic Culture, by Martijn Dekker
Invalid DateAutism Genetic Resource ExchangeAutism Genetic Resource Exchange
Invalid DateVoices From The Spectrum, by Ariel and NaseefVoices From The Spectrum, by Ariel and Naseef
Invalid DateInstitute for the Study of the Neurologically TypicalInstitute for the Study of the Neurologically Typical
Invalid DateAspergiaAspergia
Invalid DateIdentity Politics and the Language Controversy, by Dora RaymakerIdentity Politics and the Language Controversy, by Dora Raymaker
Invalid DateThe Book of Woe, by Gary GreenbergThe Book of Woe, by Gary Greenberg
Invalid DateLight and Dark: Correcting the Balance, by Judy SingerLight and Dark: Correcting the Balance, by Judy Singer