History of the English Word Melancholy

Alec Ian Fraser


Melancholy, a very dynamic word, has in fact grown more abstract with time to the point where now, many may find it hard to separate from depression or sadness. While melancholy is of course very related to depression, its meaning nowadays can mean anything from somberly introspective to nostalgic. Different from the modern day use of depression to describe the psychological illness, melancholy in both its early days and now is often used to denote a specific personality characteristic of someone, but to see how this came about, it is important to look at the word's earliest beginning in ancient Greek.

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Britton, Piers, "Mio malinchonico, o vero... mio pazzo": Michelangelo, Vasari, and the Problem of Artists' Melancholy in Sixteenth-Century Italy, The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Fall, 2003), pp. 653-675, Article DOI: 10.2307/20061528, JSTOR

Strong, Roy (1964). "The Elizabethan Malady: Melancholy in Elizabeth and Jacobean portraiture". Apollo. LXXIX., reprinted in Strong, Roy (1969). The English Icon: Elizabethan and Jacobean Portraiture. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Rudolph and Margot Wittkower, Born Under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists,New York: Norton, 1969, pp. 98-105 (edited)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.6017/lf.v3i0.9266

ISSNĀ 2333-6552

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