A Field Guide to Melancholy

Jacky Bowring

A Field Guide to Melancholy

Melancholy is a critical part of what it is to be human, yet everything from Prozac to self help psychology books seems intent on removing all signs of sadness from contemporary existence. Complex and contradictory, melancholy's presence weaves through the histories of both science and art. The Field Guide to Melancholy surveys this ambivalent concept and takes a journey through its articulation in a variety of languages, from the Russian toska of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, to kaiho - which is expressed in the dancing of the Finnish tango. By drawing on a range of disciplines from psychology and philosophy to architecture and design, and by examining the work of creative figures as different as Ingmar Bergman, Albrecht Dürer, WG Sebald and Tom Waits, Jacky Bowring provides an original perspective on one of the most elusive, enigmatic and fascinating of human conditions. 4.0 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
A Field Guide to Melancholy

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Psychology & Psychiatry
Format Hardback
Pages 240
RRP £12.00
Date of Publication October 2008
ISBN 978-1842432921
Publisher Oldcastle
 

Melancholy is a critical part of what it is to be human, yet everything from Prozac to self help psychology books seems intent on removing all signs of sadness from contemporary existence. Complex and contradictory, melancholy's presence weaves through the histories of both science and art. The Field Guide to Melancholy surveys this ambivalent concept and takes a journey through its articulation in a variety of languages, from the Russian toska of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, to kaiho - which is expressed in the dancing of the Finnish tango. By drawing on a range of disciplines from psychology and philosophy to architecture and design, and by examining the work of creative figures as different as Ingmar Bergman, Albrecht Dürer, WG Sebald and Tom Waits, Jacky Bowring provides an original perspective on one of the most elusive, enigmatic and fascinating of human conditions.

Reviews

The Guardian

Ian Pindar

Bowring mentions several philosophers, but a notable omission is Spinoza, who regarded melancholy as evil, because it reduces our power to act... This thoughtful and sensitive book remains a survey of the scene rather than a definitive study. However, Bowring has succeeded in her aspiration to create something like an Observer's Guide to melancholy.

25/04/2009

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