By Jacky Bowring
A depressive affliction or a passing feeling? psychological detachment or a precursor to genius? depression is a serious a part of what it really 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 historical 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 way of life. This advisor unearths depression in the paintings of writers corresponding 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 track 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 info for A Field Guide to Melancholy
The sanguine has adoptive virtues, which are the mark of nobility and compassion. Kant makes a distinction between these adoptive virtues, which are beautiful and charming, and the genuine virtues, described as sublime and venerable. It is with the genuine virtues that he associates melancholy. 39 It is gentle and noble, and characterised by the sense of awe in apprehending a danger to be overcome and the aspiration towards self-conquest. Melancholy is therefore associated with ‘beauty’ in its generalised sense, and also with Kant’s particular category of the Sublime.
The Face of Melancholy From early times there were strongly formed ideas about the appearance of melancholy in individuals, especially in the development of the ideas on physiognomy, where appearance was believed to relate to a person’s character. Melancholy was manifested in those who were thin, dark, and hirsute with prominent veins. In late medieval times, for example, the characteristic melancholic was personiﬁed in Maistre Alain Chartier’s invention of ‘Dame Mérencolye’, with her way of speaking slowly, her drooping lip, and a sense of weightiness in her complexion.
Such activities all require a certain degree of introspection, a sense of the vastness and incomprehensibility of things, and of memory and history. ’23 Susan Sontag’s evocation of Sir William Hamilton in The Volcano Lover is one such melancholy collector, in his youth collecting coins, automata, and musical instruments, then moving onto his signiﬁcant collection of paintings. SirWilliam believed that,‘Collecting expresses a free-ﬂoating desire that attaches and re-attaches itself – it is a succession of desires.