Melancholy Experience in Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century: Before Depression, 1660-1800
This book arises out of a major research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, on depression in the eighteenth century. It discusses the ... Show synopsis This book arises out of a major research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, on depression in the eighteenth century. It discusses the experience of depressive states both in terms of existing modes of thought and expression, and in terms of individual attempts to describe and live with suffering. Different chapters, each by an authority in the field, look at depression, or, in the terms of the time, melancholy, spleen and hypochondria, as it is reflected in medical writing, philosophical writing, poetry, in the novel and in autobiographical writing, this last based on material which is currently unpublished. The book concludes by comparing eighteenth-century medical practice with contemporary structures for treating the depressed, and by asking what present-day society can learn about depression and its treatment from the experience of this previous era.