A Field Guide to Melancholy by Jacky Bowring

By Jacky Bowring

A depressive disorder 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 purpose on removal all symptoms of unhappiness from modern lifestyles. A box consultant to depression surveys this ambivalent suggestion and takes a trip during 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 ancient traditions of death’s presence in paradise, the tears of nature, besides nostalgia, pathos, and melancholy’s presiding god, Saturn. In modern society, depression turns into a manner assertion within the emo lifestyle. This advisor reveals depression in the paintings of writers akin to W. G. Sebald and Jean-Paul Sartre, the artwork of photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto and multi-media artist Gerhard Richter, the movies 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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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.

34. 4. 35. 9. 36. 226. 37. 32. 38. See Immanuel Kant, Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime. 39. 63-64. 40. 168. 41. Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Judgment (trans. John T. 162. 117. 42. 166. 43. 16-23. 44. 131-132. 45. 41. 46. 61. 47. 11-12. The Hunt for Melancholy Laurence Aberhart, Oamaru, Otago, 18 April 1999 2 The Hunt for Melancholy I know why I am sad, but I do not know why I am melancholy. Yet, there are certain qualities, characteristics, sensations, that are recognisable as melancholy.

But, if these are the characteristics of individuals, where might we seek out melancholy? The Place of Melancholy The attributes of melancholy are not confined to the characteristics of a person, but can also be recognised in cities and landscapes.

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