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More About This Title Melancholy


Melancholy emerges as a Western restlessness for the first time with the Greek physiologist Hippocrates (460 BC -370 BC) as a mood disorder associated with a physical malady caused by black bile. In Antiquity, the Hippocratic tradition preserves this affective state as a disease of the body, which could lead to epilepsy, blindness, or madness. Since then, the concept has changed. It gained new contours from the construction of vast content, at different times, and by the hands of numerous authors. As medicine departs from philosophy, the term coexists with other meanings, often related to the existential condition of men. This is the path researcher Luiz Costa Lima goes through to map the melancholy phenomenon over the centuries and construct 'Melancholy: Literature'.

Divided into three chapters, the text works with a myriad of authors in an attempt to approach the line chosen by the author. The theme contemplates “a thousand faces”.

More than just mapping the theoretical concept of melancholy under human optics over the centuries, Luiz Costa Lima reveals to the reader how the melancholic experience in the Western culture has affected the various expressions of thought in different ways – from medicine to philosophy, from theology to psychoanalysis and the visual arts and literature, showing the changes that historically undergoes the experience of melancholy and its “acceptance” by literature while the book is not restricted to establishing a simple and direct relation of cause and effect between melancholy and literature.