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The Problem of Early Modern Melancholy

Gowland, Angus.
Past & Present, Number 191, May 2006, pp. 77-120 (Article)
Published by Oxford University Press

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THE PROBLEM OF EARLY MODERN MELANCHOLY*


Surveying the world outside his study in Christ Church, Oxford in The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Robert Burton diagnosed an epidemic. Melancholy was now, he wrote, a disease so frequent . . . in these our daies, so often happening . . . in our miserable times, as few there are that feele not the smart of it. It being a disease so grievous, so common, he claimed to know not wherein to do a more generall service, and spend my time better, then to prescribe means how to prevent and cure so universall a malady, an Epidemicall disease, that so often, so much crucies the body and minde.1 Burton had little difculty in nding a range of neoteric philosophical and medical authorities to support his diagnosis. Whilst examining the spleen and its role in generating hypochondriacal melancholy in the 1552 edition of his De anima, Philipp Melanchthon had remarked that there were so many cases of the disease it was pointless to count the sufferers.2 Later in the century Andr Du Laurens had concluded his chapter on the same species of melancholy by noting its frequency in these miserable times, and pointing out that there are not many people which feele not some smatch thereof.3 This disease is most frequent in these days, agreed Girolamo Mercuriale, in the chapter on melancholy in his Medicina practica (1601).4 These observations were further supported
* I would like to thank Peter Burke, Ingrid Schrder, Richard Serjeantson, Quentin Skinner, Peter Stacey, and seminar audiences in Cambridge and London, for their exceptionally helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article. 1 Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, ed. Thomas C. Faulkner, Nicolas K. Kiessling and Rhonda L. Blair, commentary J. B. Bamborough and Martin Dodsworth, 6 vols. (Oxford, 19892001), i, 110, Democritus Junior to the Reader. 2 Philipp Melanchthon, Liber de anima, recognitus ab auctore (Wittenberg, 1552), sig. F2: Exempla ade crebra sunt, ut hic nomina eorum recitare nolum, quos vidimus hoc morbo laborare. 3 Andr Du Laurens, A Discourse of the Preservation of Sight: Of Melancholike Diseases; of Rheumes, and of Old Age, trans. Richard Surphlet (London, 1599, STC 7304), 140. 4 Girolamo Mercuriale, Medicina practica . . . Libri V, 2nd edn (Lyon, 1617), II. 10. 55: Sed istud satis est intelligere, hanc affectionem esse temporibus nostris frequentissimam, ut propter hoc pertineat ad culturam ingeniorum vestrorum diligenter curationem hanc intelligere.

Past and Present, no. 191 (May 2006) doi:10.1093/pastj/gtj012

The Past and Present Society, Oxford, 2006

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by Giulio Cesare Chiodini, who asserted in his Responsiones et consultationes medicinales (1607) that in our times scarcely anyone can be found who is immune from its contamination. Melancholy, according to Chiodini, had not only spread throughout the population; it was, as he put it, the fountain of almost all other diseases aficting his society.5 Had he still been living in the second half of the century, Burton could have found conrmation of the persistence of this melancholic epidemic, notably in England, where divines and physicians continued to lament the frequency of the disease. Richard Baxter complained in 1671 at having to console a multitude of melancholly Persons from several Parts of the Land, some of high Quality, some of low, some very exquisitely learned, some unlearned.6 In the following year, Thomas Willis observed that more new and admirable observations and examples of melancholic raving daily happen.7 And in 1691 the Lincolnshire divine Timothy Rogers prefaced his Discourse Concerning Trouble of Mind and the Disease of Melancholly with thirty-six pages of letters from other divines, thanking him for addressing the psychological sickness of their parishioners.8 But what should we make of these perceptions? The subject of melancholy has long featured prominently in modern historical and literary scholarship on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but our understanding of its religious, social and political meanings remains limited. The cultural signicance of early modern medicine is now well-explored territory, yet most of the extant accounts of melancholy are concerned with
5 Julius Caesar Claudinus [= Chiodini], Responsiones et consultationes medicinales (Venice, 1607), consultatio no. 98, p. 232: Affectus melancholicus, maxim ver qui atulentus, & Hypochondriacus vocatur, adeo nostris temporibus frequenter ingruit, ut quemadmodum nullus fer ab eius labe immunis reperitur, ita propria natura omnium quasi morborum, omnium pen Symptomatum occasio existat, id quod in omnibus, at praesertim in illustrissimo. 6 Richard Baxter, Reliquiae Baxterianae: or, Mr. Richard Baxters Narrative of the Most Memorable Passages of his Life and Times, ed. Matthew Sylvester (London, 1696), pt 3, 184, pp. 856. 7 Thomas Willis, De anima brutorum quae hominis vitalis ac sensitiva est, exercitationes duae (Oxford, 1672), XI. 454: horum exempla [sc. melancholicorum deliria] quotidie nova, & admiranda eveniunt. For the English translation, see Two Discourses Concerning the Soul of Brutes, Which Is That of the Vital and Sensitive of Man, ed. S. Pordage (London, 1683), 188; see also ibid., 193. 8 Timothy Rogers, A Discourse Concerning Trouble of Mind and the Disease of Melancholly (London, 1691), pp. xxivlx.

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its internal theoretical structure or literary expression.9 Although there are now many useful studies of the extra-medical aspects of melancholy,10 little sustained attention has been paid to the specic contexts in which such aspects became signicant, or to the varieties of use to which the concept of melancholy was put in these contexts. More specically, the notion that melancholy had become an especially prevalent disease my principal concern here has not been directly related to contemporary perceptions of the early modern environment, and as a consequence a number of problematic explanations for its allegedly high incidence stand in need of correction or at least renement. According to one long-standing view, widespread melancholy,

9 See Lawrence Babb, The Elizabethan Malady: A Study of Melancholia in English Literature from 1580 to 1642 (East Lansing, 1951); Jean Starobinski, Histoire du traitement de la mlancolie des origines 1900 (Acta psychosomatica, iv, Basel, 1960); Raymond Klibansky, Erwin Panofsky and Fritz Saxl, Saturn and Melancholy: Studies in the History of Natural Philosophy, Religion, and Art (Cambridge, 1964); Hellmut Flashar, Melancholie und Melancholiker in den medizinischen Theorien der Antike (Berlin, 1966); Heinz-Gnter Schmitz, Phantasie und Melancholie, Medizinhistorisches Journal, iv (1969); Heinz-Gnter Schmitz, Das Melancholieproblem in Wissenschaft und Kunst der frhen Neuzeit, Sudhoffs Archiv, lx (1976); T. H. Jobe, Medical Theories of Melancholia in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries, Clio Medica, xi (1976); Ilza Veith, Elizabethans on Melancholia, Jl Amer. Medical Assoc., ccxii (1976); Stanley Jackson, Melancholia and Depression from Hippocratic Times to Modern Times (New Haven and London, 1986); Martine Alet, La Mlancolie dans la psycho-physiologie du dbut du XVIIe sicle, Papers on French Seventeenth Century Literature, xxvii (2000). Amongst the many useful literary and art-historical studies, see Margaret and Rudolf Wittkower, Born under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists. A Documented History from Antiquity to the French Revolution (London, 1963); Bridget Gellert Lyons, Voices of Melancholy: Studies in Literary Treatments of Melancholy in Renaissance England (London, 1971); Udo Benzenhfer, Melancholie in Literatur und Kunst (Hrtgenwald, 1990); Teresa Scott Soufas, Melancholy and the Secular Mind in Spanish Golden Age Literature (Columbia, 1990). I am excluding the large literature on modern forms of melancholy. 10 See Roy Porter, Mind Forgd Manacles: A History of Madness in England from the Restoration to the Regency (London, 1987); Winfried Schleiner, Melancholy, Genius, and Utopia in the Renaissance (Wiesbaden, 1991); Michael Heyd, Be Sober and Reasonable: The Critique of Enthusiasm in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries (Leiden, 1995), chs. 23; Noel L. Brann, The Debate over the Origin of Genius during the Italian Renaissance: The Theories of Supernatural Frenzy and Natural Melancholy in Accord and in Conict on the Threshold of the Scientic Revolution (Leiden, Boston and Cologne, 2002); H. C. Erik Midelfort, A History of Madness in SixteenthCentury Germany (Stanford, 1999); David Lederer, Melancholie und andere Krankheiten des Geistes: Pldoyer fr eine Geschichte der frhmodernen Seelenarznei, in Reiner Jehl and Wolfgang Weber (eds.), Melancholie: Epochenstimmung Krankheit Lebenskunst (Stuttgart, 2000), 2633.

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along with its suicidal conclusion,11 was an accompaniment of Protestantism.12 According to another, the frequency of the disease was a peculiarly English characteristic, reected the general temper of the age,13 and was caused by a variety of social factors including spiritual and intellectual malaise, economic depression, and the threat of Spanish invasion.14 Assessing the validity of the rst explanation is not straightforward, and I shall return to this task later. But the second must obviously be dismissed. As those even only vaguely familiar with non-Anglophone scholarship on the subject know very well, and as much of the material I shall be discussing shows, the perception of a high rate of melancholy was a European phenomenon.15 The authorities Burton cited to support his diagnosis of the epidemic were German, French and Italian, and, like them, he was claiming that the whole Continent was aficted. More generally, the Durkheimian attribution of frequent melancholy to social causes has typically been premised upon a questionable correspondence between modern depression

11 For the association of suicide and melancholy, see, for example, Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 42838 (pt 1, sect. 4, memb. 1, subsect. 1). 12 See N. Paulus, Die Melancholie im 16. Jahrhundert, Wissenschaftliche Beilage zur Germania: Bltter fr Literatur, Wissenschaft und Kunst, xviii (1897); mile Durkheim, Suicide: A Study in Sociology, trans. John A. Spaulding and George Simpson (London, 1952), 88, 3534, and esp. 15270; Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, trans. John Osborne (London, 1977), esp. 13858. On the link between Protestantism and melancholy in England, see S. E. Sprott, The English Debate on Suicide from Donne to Hume (La Salle, Ill., 1961), 28, 357, 4752; John Stachniewski, The Persecutory Imagination: English Puritanism and the Literature of Religious Despair (Oxford, 1991). 13 Vieda Skultans, English Madness: Ideas on Insanity, 15801890 (London, Boston and Henley, 1979), 202. 14 G. B. Harrison, Essay on Elizabethan Melancholy, in Nicholas Breton, Melancholike Humours, ed. G. B. Harrison (London, 1929), 49; L. C. Knights, Seventeenth-Century Melancholy, Criterion, xiii (19334), 110, 114 ff.; George Williamson, Mutability, Decay, and Seventeenth-Century Melancholy, Eng. Lit. Hist., ii (1935); Babb, Elizabethan Malady; Jackson, Melancholia and Depression, 105. For the eighteenth-century French image of the English as melancholic, see Eric Gidal, Civic Melancholy: English Gloom and French Enlightenment, Eighteenth Century Studies, xxxvii (2003). 15 See, for example, Jean Delumeau, Le Pch et la Peur: la culpabilisation en Occident (XIII e XVIII e sicles) (Paris, 1983) in English as Jean Delumeau, Sin and Fear: The Emergence of a Western Guilt Culture, 13th18th Centuries, trans. Eric Nicholson (New York, 1990), esp. 16885. This will also be discussed in David Lederer, Madness, Religion and the State in Early Modern Europe: A Bavarian Beacon, Cambridge Univ. Press, forthcoming.

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and early modern melancholy. In my view we would do well to resist the temptation to begin our study by redescribing the disease in terms of modern psychiatric or psychoanalytic language, for example as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Although there are family resemblances between melancholy and what we might now term depression, there are also, as we shall see, signicant discontinuities.16 We should also question whether there really was anything resembling an early modern epidemic in Burtons sense of a quasi-universal disease seriously aficting all the social orders. The argument that the steep increase in the number of recorded suicides in England was a direct product of widespread (and Protestant) melancholy,17 though supported by contemporary testimony,18 has been undermined by MacDonald and Murphys demonstration that cases of felo de se were more likely to be brought before the courts and approved by juries in these years because of a conglomeration of legal, religious and social changes.19 More importantly, it is rare for sixteenth- or seventeenth-century physicians casebooks or daily notebooks to have survived, and, when they have, the detail supplied is often meagre and question-begging. At least for England the existing casebooks offer only weak support for the idea that there was a real epidemic, or even that there was a signicantly widespread increase in the number of diagnoses of the condition. One might cite the casebooks of Theodore Turquet de Mayerne, a Genevan physician who practised in courtly circles in France and England, which reveal that in the period from 1611 to 1624

16 See, variously, Bergen Evans, The Psychiatry of Robert Burton (New York, 1944); W. I. D. Scott, Shakespeares Melancholics (London, 1962); F. F. Blok, Caspar Barlaeus: From the Correspondence of a Melancholic (Amsterdam, 1976), 218; and the editors comments in Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, iv, 17. For critical appraisals of this type of procedure, see Michel de Certeau, What Freud Makes of History, in his The Writing of History, trans. Tom Conley (New York, 1988), 287307; Jon Arrizabalaga, Problematizing Retrospective Diagnosis in the History of Disease, Asclepio, liv (2002). 17 See Sprott, English Debate on Suicide, 278. 18 See, for example, George Cheyne, The English Malady, ed. Roy Porter (London and New York, 1991), LII. 36. For discussion, see Michael MacDonald and Terence R. Murphy, Sleepless Souls: Suicide in Early Modern England (Oxford, 1990), 23944. 19 MacDonald and Murphy, Sleepless Souls, 35, 1516, 228, 5660, 1278, 23847, 30314.

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he diagnosed melancholy far more frequently than any other disease.20 But Mayernes clinical environment was rareed, and the casebooks of other learned and popular practitioners such as Richard Napier, Thomas Willis, Nathaniel Johnston and Edmund King suggest that melancholy formed only a small fraction of the conditions treated in the period.21 Most strikingly, in Thomas Sydenhams chronicle of the epidemics aficting England between 1661 and 1676, multiple epidemics of fever, plague and smallpox are diagnosed, amongst other conditions, but no substantial mention is made of melancholy.22 Medical casebooks raise more complications. In the rst place, the diagnostic categories employed by physicians varied across both time and space. One doctors melancholic might be anothers hypochondriac, or (s)he might be both. Sydenham perceived a high incidence of the female mental afiction hysteria, and its male equivalent hypochondria, in the period from 1675 to 1680,23 yet it is clear from his discussion of the aetiology and symptomatology of these diseases that many other physicians, especially those practising fty years earlier, would have diagnosed them as cases of melancholy.24 As the Newtonian physician Nicholas Robinson noted in his treatise on nervous diseases, A New System of the Spleen, Vapours, and Hypochondriack Melancholy (1729), medical theorists had long been perplexed by the question of how properly to classify these forms of mental

20 Brian Nance, Turquet de Mayerne as Baroque Physician: The Art of Medical Portraiture (Clio Medica, lxv, Amsterdam and New York, 2001), 1326. The 16 per cent of cases diagnosed as melancholy would rise to 25 per cent if Mayernes designation of hypochondria indicated hypochondriacal melancholy. 21 See Michael MacDonald, Mystical Bedlam: Madness, Anxiety, and Healing in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge, 1981), 31; Thomas Willis, Williss Oxford Casebook (165052), ed. Kenneth Dewhurst (Oxford, 1981), 978, 1267, 1367; Katherine E. Williams, Hysteria in Seventeenth-Century Case Records and Unpublished Manuscripts, History of Psychiatry, i (1990), 388, 3912. 22 Thomas Sydenham, The Whole Works of That Excellent Practical Physician Dr. Thomas Sydenham, trans. John Pechy (London, 1696), 15 ff. 23 Sydenham, Whole Works, 44078; Thomas Sydenham, Dissertatio epistolaris ad spectatissimum doctissimumque virum Gulielmum Cole, M. D., de observationibus nuperis circa curationem variolarum conuentium nec non de affectione hysterica (London, 1682). 24 Sydenham, Whole Works, 440, 442, and esp. 4446, 4512. See also Williss Oxford Casebook, ed. Dewhurst, 145; Thomas Willis, An Essay of the Pathology of the Brain and Nervous Stock, trans. S. P. (London, 1681), 907. For the relationship between hypochondria and melancholy, see ibid., 901, 956.

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derangement.25 Given such terminological instability in medical texts, reliable quantitative appraisals are virtually impossible. It may still be the case that there was an epidemic, a series of epidemics, or perhaps just a substantial rise in the number of diagnosed cases, either broadly spread across the Continent or in specic geographical locales. But if so, we must accept that melancholy did not leave its mark on the historical record in the manner of the plague epidemics by which Europe was indisputably aficted and distressed. In short, for the historian the problem of early modern melancholy cannot be why so many suffered from the disease, but why so many were preoccupied with its assumed frequency. Instead of asking why people were aficted with melancholy, we must ask why people described themselves or others as melancholic, and consider what they meant by this.26 My main task, therefore, is to review some of the possible explanations for the heightened early modern consciousness of the incidence of melancholy, with particular attention to discussions within the learned community of Europe in the later sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. I rst outline the basic theory of the disease, and proceed by exploring some of the intellectual developments and external contextual factors that inuenced its application and stimulated the perception that melancholy was on the rise. My suggestion is that contemporary European notions of the increased incidence of the condition especially amongst certain social groups such as elderly women, courtly elites, and scholars are attributable neither to endogenous technical changes in the theory of the disease, nor to developments within learned medical discourse more generally. Rather, they are best understood as the product of two wider concerns that rose to prominence in late sixteenth-century intellectual culture. First, the increased interest in the occult aspects of natural philosophy and medicine in this period stimulated additional learned interest in melancholy, which because of its peculiar characteristics was
25 Nicholas Robinson, A New System of the Spleen, Vapours, and Hypochondriack Melancholy: Wherein All the Decays of the Nerves, and Lownesses of the Spirits, are Mechanically Accounted For. To Which Is Subjoind, a Discourse upon the Nature, Cause, and Cure, of Melancholy, Madness, and Lunacy (London, 1729), 175. 26 For this reformulation, see Wolf Lepenies, Melancholie und Gesellschaft (Frankfurt am Main, 1972) in English as Wolf Lepenies, Melancholy and Society, trans. Jeremy Gaines and Doris Jones (Cambridge, Mass., and London, 1992), 1, 1645.

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especially suitable for use in controversies over a number of important questions relating to witchcraft and demonology. Second, because the disease was understood to be primarily an emotional condition, it carried spiritual and ethical as well as medical signicance, and assumed a prominent place within religious, moral-philosophical and political discourses on the passions of the soul. Here, then, I shall be addressing the complex and occasionally antagonistic relationship between medical and theological perspectives on melancholy, as it is from this perspective that its signicance can be comprehended as being deeply embedded within some of the most pressing concerns of post-Reformation European intellectual culture. The key to the problem of the apparently high incidence of the disease is thus the increased domain in which the concept of melancholy could be applied. I That the subject of melancholy was becoming more interesting and important to the learned population of late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Europe is suggested by the rapid increase in the production of treatises and university disputations devoted solely to the disease, in the vernacular as well as in Latin. Authors like Timothy Bright, Andr Du Laurens, Ercole Sassonia, Jourdain Guilbelet, Robert Burton and Caspare Marcucci, all of whom published substantial works on melancholy in this period, were representative of an apparent increase of interest amongst the educated elite.27 In England at least this concern also permeated less rareed domains of public discourse, and melancholy received special attention in print from the middling sort amongst popular medical practitioners and
27 Timothy Bright, A Treatise of Melancholie: Containing the Causes thereof, & Reasons of the Strange Effects It Worketh in our Minds and Bodies (London, 1586, STC 3747); Du Laurens, Discourse of the Preservation of Sight; Ercole Sassonia, De melancholia, repr. in his Opera practica (Padua, 1639); Jourdain Guilbelet, Trois discours philosophiques, 1. de la comparaison de lhomme avec le monde, 2. du principe de la generation de lhomme, 3. de lhumeur mlancholique (vreux, 1603); Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy; Caspare Marcucci, Quadripartium melancholicum (Rome, 1645). For the peak of interest in melancholy in this period, see Oskar Diethelm, Medical Dissertations of Psychiatric Interest Printed before 1750 (Basel, 1971), 3249, 164206. See also Hermann Schling, Bibliographisches Handbuch zur Geschichte der Psychologie: das 17. Jahrhundert (Giessen, 1964).

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divines. In 1652, the London physician John Marriott offered a new Dish, called a Frigazee to expel all sadness and melancholy; seven years later, Richard Amyas produced a compendium of 53 Rare Secrets and Arts gathered together as An Antidote against Melancholy; and in 1698, the clergyman William Chilcot published a Practical Treatise Concerning Evil Thoughts . . . Especially Useful for Melancholy Persons with his parishioners in Exeter particularly in mind.28 A signicant degree of awareness of the same subject amongst those of lower social rank is also apparent in the conspicuous increase in the publication of inexpensive popular collections of witty stories, jokes, songs, histories and dialogues labelled as psychological remedies for melancholy. Very many texts of this kind can be cited, from the anonymous Tyros Roring Megge: Planted against the Walles of Melancholy (1598), to Laurence Prices New Dialogue between Dick of Kent, and Wat the Welch-man . . . to Make Folks Merry in Time of Sadnesse . . . and Pass the Tedious Melancholy Nights (1654).29
28 See J. Marriot[t], The English Mountebank: or, A Physical Dispensatory . . . with Sundry Directions . . . How to Make his New Dish, Called a Frigazee: The Operation whereof, Expells All Sadness and Melancholy (London, 1652); Richard Amyas, An Antidote against Melancholy (London, 1659); William Chilcot, A Practical Treatise Concerning Evil Thoughts: Wherein Are Some Things More Especially Useful for Melancholy Persons (Oxford, 1698); D. Irish, Levamen Inrmi . . . Concerning Melancholy, Frensie, and Madness (London, 1700). 29 Anon., Tyros Roring Megge: Planted against the Walles of Melancholy (London, 1598, STC 24477); Nicholas Breton, Wonders Worth the Hearing: Which Being Read or Heard . . . May Serve Both to Purge Melancholy from the Minde, & Grosse Humoours from the Body (London, 1602, STC 3714); Samuel Rowlands, Democritus, or Doctor Merry-Man his Medicines, against Melancholy Humors (London, 1607, STC 21366); Samuel Rowlands, Doctor Merry-Man: or, Nothing but Mirth (London, 1616, STC 21374); W. C., The First Part of the Renowned Historie of Fragosa King of Aragon . . . Right Pleasant for the Aged to Drive Away Melancholy Thoughts (London, 1618, STC 4319); Anon., Robin Good-Fellow, his Mad Prankes, and Merry Iests, Full of Honest Mirth, and Is a Fit Medicine for Melancholy (London, 1628, STC 12016); Anon., The Pennilesse Parliament of Threed-Bare Poets . . . Composed by Doctor Merry-Man: Not Onely to Purge Melancholy, but Also to Procure Tittering and Laughing (London, 1649); Anon., A PILL to Purge Melancholy: or, Merry Newes from Newgate (London, 1652); Anon., Mirth in Abundance . . . Contrivd to Relieve the Melancholy, and Rejoyce the Merry; to Expell Sorrow, and Advance Jollity (London, 1659); Anon., An Antidote against Melancholy: Made Up in PILLS. Compounded of Witty Ballads, Jovial Songs, and Merry Catches (London, 1661); Laurence Price, A New Dialogue between Dick of Kent, and Wat the Welch-man . . . Written and Printed on Purpose to Make Folks Merry in Time of Sadnesse . . . and Pass the Tedious Melancholy Nights (London, 1654); Humphrey Crouch, Englands Jests Rend and Improvd, [which] May Serve as the Witty-Mans COMPANION, the Busie-Mans DIVERSION, and the Melancholy Mans PHYSICK and RECREATION, 3rd edn (London, 1693); Anon., Wit and Mirth: or, PILLS to Purge Melancholy (London, 1699).

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We should be cautious about accepting anecdotal citations as conclusive evidence of an increased preoccupation with melancholy across the social orders, whether in England or Europe generally. Although there are clearly more learned and popular texts being produced on the subject, it is difcult to disentangle this phenomenon from the massive expansion of publishing generally in these years, and until adequate statistics are available the question of whether melancholy attracted a disproportionate amount of attention remains open.30 But if the quantitative dimension of this issue must for now remain unresolved, the contemporary perceptions of the importance and frequency of the disease remain strongly suggestive that melancholy did become more signicant in this period. It is clear that the writers who perceived the frequency of the disease and analysed it in detail, like Melanchthon, Du Laurens and Burton, were inuential across Europe in terms of numbers of books sold and read, and their status as eminent authorities gave their views wide dissemination in learned circles at least.31 However, it is also striking that so many of the humorous seventeenth-century English texts mentioned above identify their popular audiences specically as melancholics, rather than people simply weighed down with sorrow as might be expected were melancholy truly on a par with other pathological conditions in terms of signicance. This is an oddity, and it indicates a problem requiring explanation. In terms of medical theory, the history of melancholy from antiquity to early modernity is predominantly one of continuity rather than change. As with many other diseases, the early modern theory of the condition was based principally upon classical teachings, and despite the progress of medical humanism did not differ radically in content from its medieval predecessors. In ancient Greek medicine, melancholy was conventionally considered to be one of the three species of madness, drawing its name
30 Using the typology presented in Heinrich Laehr, Die Literatur der Psychiatrie, Neurologie und Psychologie von 14591799, 4 vols. (Berlin, 1900), a case could be made for a similar boom of interest in mania or fevers. 31 On Melanchthon, see Sachiko Kusukawa, The Transformation of Natural Philosophy: The Case of Philip Melanchthon (Cambridge, 1995). On Du Laurens, see Jacques Ferrand, A Treatise on Lovesickness, ed. Donald A. Beecher and Massimo Ciavolella (Syracuse, NY, 1990), 1035. For Burtons inuence, see nn. 11920 below.

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from a direct aetiological association with the noxious humour black bile (e oh).32 It was differentiated rst from phrenitis (frenzy) on the basis that it was chronic rather than acute, and unaccompanied by fever; and second, from mania on account of its depressive symptoms and the absence of violent raving. This tripartition of madness was reproduced in the majority of orthodox learned medical texts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.33 Notwithstanding minor adjustments and additions to the classical theory such as the formulation of erotic melancholy,34 ancient Greek ideas especially those of Rufus of Ephesus, and subsequently of Galen in the third book of the De locis affectis comprised the substantial core of medieval accounts of the disease. From causes to cures, these theories focused on the detrimental physiological and psychological effects that, it was posited, black bile had on both body and mind.35 The same is true of early modern writings. Humanist philology contributed little of substance, although it did stimulate closer (and in some
32 On the etymology of melancholy, see Du Laurens, Discourse of the Preservation of Sight, 86; Giovanni Manardi, IATRODGIA EPISTOLIKH sive curia medica (Hanover, 1611), IX. 2. 183; Mercuriale, Medicina practica, II. 10. 39. 33 See, for example, Du Laurens, Discourse of the Preservation of Sight, 81, 878; Manardi, IATRODGIA EPISTOLIKH, XVIII. 1. 315; Mercuriale, Medicina practica, I. 15. 76; I. 16. 84. For notable exceptions, see Marsilio Ficino, Commentarium in Convivium Platonis de amore, VIII. 3, in Commentary on Platos Symposium on Love, 2nd revised edn, trans. Sears Jayne (Dallas, 1985), 158, followed in Franois Valleriola, Observationum medicinalium libri sex (Lyon, 1588), 196; Paracelsus, De morbis amentia, II. 3: Four Treatises of Theophrastus von Hohenheim, Called Paracelsus, trans. C. L. Temkin et al. (Baltimore and London, 1996), 1523. The topic is discussed in Ferrand, Treatise on Lovesickness, ed. Beecher and Ciavolella, 256. 34 See John L. Lowes, The Loveres Maladye of Hereos, Modern Philology , xi (1914); Donald A. Beecher and Massimo Ciavolella, Jacques Ferrand and the Tradition of Erotic Melancholy in Western Culture, in Ferrand, Treatise on Lovesickness, ed. Beecher and Ciavolella. For the classication of melancholic subspecies according to the affected part, see Rufus of Ephesus, uvres, ed. and trans. Ch. Daremberg and Ch. E. Ruelle (Paris, 1879), 3589; Galen, De locis affectis, III. 910; V. 6, 8, in On the Affected Parts, trans. Rudolph E. Siegel (Basel, 1976), 8994, 153, 1667; Avicenna, Canon medicinae, 2 vols. (Venice, 1608), i, 489 (bk 3, fen 1, doctrina 4, ch. 18); Bernard Gordonio, Lilium medicinae (Frankfurt am Main, 1617), II. 19. 250; Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy , i, 1667 (1. 1. 3. 3). 35 See Arnald of Villanova, Breviarum practicae, I. 18, in Opera omnia (Basel, 1585), cols. 10928; Bartholomew the Englishman, De proprietatibus rerum (London, 1582), fos. 88v89r; Gordonio, Lilium medicinae , II. 19. 24655; II. 20. 2559.

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cases new) attention to the Hippocratic and Galenic texts.36 It also entrenched the position of the De locis affectis as the touchstone of learned orthodoxy throughout the sixteenth and well into the seventeenth century, when the disease was typically dened as a species of madness (delirium) involving the impairment of a principal internal mental faculty, and usually accompanied by groundless fear and sorrow.37 In England, revolutionary iatrochemical and iatromechanical challenges to Galenism were mounted in the later seventeenth century, but in most of the medical writings on melancholy by so-called new scientic authors, different physiological explanations were more or less straightforwardly grafted onto the traditional Galenic external aetiology, symptomatology and therapeutics.38 The internal factor of black bile was gradually being removed from causal explanations, yet as Thomas Williss neurochemical account in the De anima brutorum (1672) well illustrates, the general intellectual structure of the disease dened by Willis as raving without a Feavour or fury and characterized by the symptoms of fear, sadness and hallucinations persisted largely unaltered.39

See Vivian Nutton, John Caius and the Eton Galen: Medical Philology in the Renaissance, Medizinhistorisches Journal, xx (1985); Vivian Nutton, De Placitis Hippocratis et Platonis in the Renaissance, in Paola Manuli and Mario Vegetti (eds.), Le Opere Psicologiche di Galeno: atti terzo colloquio Galenice Internazionale Pavia, 1012 settembre 1986 (Naples, 1988); Vivian Nutton, The Rise of Medical Humanism: Ferrara, 14641555, Renaissance Studies, xi (1997). For the continuity between medieval and early modern medical knowledge, see Siraisi, Avicenna in Renaissance Italy, 4376; Ian Maclean, The Renaissance Notion of Woman: A Study in the Fortunes of Scholasticism and Medical Science in European Intellectual Life (Cambridge, 1980). 37 The denition offered in Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 1626 (1. 1. 3. 1 2), is representative in this sense. See also Manardi, IATRODGIA EPISTOLIKH, IX. 2. 1827; Donato-Antonio Altomari, De medendis humani corporis malis: ars medica (Lyon, 1559), I. 7. 74; Felix Platter, Praxeos, seu deo cognoscendis, praedicendis, praecavendis, curandisque affectibus homini incommodantibus, 2 vols. (Basel, 16023), i, 989 (I. 3); Mercuriale, Medicina practica, I. 10. 3940. The pseudo-Galenic Medical Denitions was considered authentic and also widely quoted: Galen, Denitiones medicae, Iona Philologo interprete (Paris, 1528), fo. 19v; see, for example, Leonellus Faventinus de Victorius, De medendis morbis, XIII, in Practica medicinalis (Lyon, 1574), 101. 38 See Jobe, Medical Theories of Melancholia, esp. 217. 39 Willis, Two Discourses Concerning the Soul of Brutes, ed. Pordage, XI. 188201, esp. 1889, 1923, 199201. For the traditional character of new scientic theories of melancholy, see also Robinson, New System of the Spleen, Vapours, and Hypochondriack Melancholy, 226, 324408.

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There were admittedly two signicant occultist alternatives to the conventional Galenic theory available from the mid sixteenth century onwards. The rst originated with Paracelsus, who explained melancholy physiologically as an excess of vital spirit in the brain,40 but whose rather confusing corpus of writings suggested that the inuences of planets and angelic or demonic spirits were directly involved.41 Astrology was also fundamental to the other important reformulation of the orthodox medical conception of melancholy, namely Marsilio Ficinos revival of the pseudo-Aristotelian idea that melancholics were endowed with profound intellectual and prophetic capacities, and his association of melancholic genius with the celestial inuence of Saturn.42 Still, neither of these alternatives seriously disturbed the general scholarly consensus on the disease. The nondogmatic eclecticism of the majority of learned medical theorists and practitioners enabled them to absorb specic aspects of the Paracelsian and neo-Platonic theories which could t into their Galenic schemes some occult and chemical remedies, and the symptom of enhanced intellectual ability respectively and reject those which could not. Burtons Anatomy gives the clearest example of this capability to pick and choose.43 Perceptions of the increased prevalence of melancholy from the late sixteenth century onwards, then, cannot readily be attributed to any radical alteration in the orthodox medical account of the disease, at least in terms of the general outline from causes to cures. However, this is not to say that writings on melancholy were untouched by a range of controversies which occurred in early modern philosophy and medicine in this period. In fact, the presence of melancholy in a number of technically extra-medical debates is the rst indication of the wider intellectual and cultural signicance of the condition. Although there was a broad consensus on the Galenic outline

Paracelsus, Four Treatises, 157. See Walter Pagel, Paracelsus: An Introduction to Philosophical Medicine in the Era of the Renaissance (Basel, 1958), 6972; Midelfort, History of Madness, 11332. 42 Marsilio Ficino, De vita, I. 5; III. 2, in Opera, 2 vols. (Basel, 1576), i, 4968, 533. See also ibid., I. 4. (p. 496). See Klibansky, Panofsky and Saxl, Saturn and Melancholy, 24174; Brann, Debate over the Origin of Genius, ch. 2. 43 Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 3912 (1. 3. 1. 2); ii, 21922 (2. 4. 1. 4), 2515 (2. 5. 1. 5). See, more generally, Schleiner, Melancholy, Genius, and Utopia, chs. 12.
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of melancholy in the medical faculties of Europe until the later decades of the seventeenth century at least, a number of contentious developments emerging in the second half of the previous century bestowed a new degree of importance upon the disease. In the rst place, more conspicuous and divisive than the theories of melancholy formulated by Paracelsus or Ficino were questions raised by the growth of interest in occultist doctrines more generally in philosophical and medical circles. In theory, the disease produced symptoms commonly acknowledged as quintessentially outlandish. Most obviously, it was said to be accompanied by hallucinations and delusions. But the periodic raving, misanthropy and emotional turmoil thought to accompany melancholy also contributed to its disturbing and unnatural aura. Of particular importance here is the fact that the explanation for these symptoms was most frequently located in the internal mental faculty of the imagination, which in melancholy was deemed to suffer a pathological alteration, and which together with reason was often stipulated as the affected part in the brain of the sufferer.44 In itself, this explanation was unremarkable, but as the nature and powers of the imagination became the subject of increased speculation amongst physicians and natural philosophers in the sixteenth century, its pathological state in melancholy became the focus of particular interest. At issue generally in learned discussions were the capabilities of the imagination not only to cause pathological or therapeutic physical changes within the body that housed it,45 but also as a faculty frequently conceived to act as a bridge between material objects and the immaterial soul through the transmission of subtle spirit to affect the bodies of others in a similar fashion through occult means. Here, in fact, was a quasi-naturalistic theoretical framework capable of accounting for the spread of psychological disorders, comparable to contemporary explanations
44 See Du Laurens, Discourse of the Preservation of Sight, 87, 1004; Platter, Praxeos, i, 98 (I. 3); Filoteo Eliano Montalto, Archipathologia (Paris, 1614), IV. 2. 2245; Mercuriale, Medicina practica, I. 10. 39, 41; I. 16. 84; Ferrand, Treatise on Lovesickness, ed. Beecher and Ciavolella, 260; Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 1635 (1. 1. 3. 12), 249 (1. 2. 3. 1); iii, 578 (3. 2. 1. 2). 45 See, for example, Edward Jorden, A Briefe Discourse of a Disease Called the Suffocation of the Mother (London, 1603, STC 14790), 1117.

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of plague or syphilis.46 These occult powers of imagination were the object of speculation in Italian neo-Platonic and Aristotelian circles (where in 1556 they received their most famous elaboration in Pomponazzis De incantationibus), in the neo-Galenic medical community,47 and also, as the writings of Montaigne, Bacon and Burton suggest, in the mainstream of European humanist philosophy.48 The crucial question posed by the melancholic imagination, however, related not to its role in transmitting the disease but to the causation of its strange symptoms. Was the affection of the imagination a natural pathology, or were preternatural or supernatural factors involved? Across the Continent, for neoPlatonic philosophers, neo-Galenic physicians and demonologists alike, the imagination interacted not only with the physical world, but also with the preternatural and celestial domains.49 Thus, according to the demonologist Francesco Maria Guazzo, evil spirits were able to enter the body aficted with melancholy through the imagination, and thereby corrupt the animal and vital spirits. This was an argument accepted by many otherwise rationalist and generally sceptical physicians, such as Levinus Lemnius and Du Laurens.50 In large part, this was because
46 See Vivian Nutton, The Seeds of Disease: An Explanation of Contagion and Infection from the Greeks to the Renaissance, Medical Hist., xxvii (1983). For a similar approach, see Brann, Debate over the Origin of Genius, 3957. 47 Pietro Pomponazzi, De naturalium effectuum admirandorum causis seu de incantationibus (Basel, 1556); see Du Laurens, Discourse of the Preservation of Sight, 7480, 989; John Cotta, The Triall of Witch-Craft Shewing the True and Right Methode of the Discovery: With a Confutation of Erroneous Wayes (London, 1616, STC 5836), 589. For the medieval Arabic roots of this idea, see E. Ruth Harvey, The Inward Wits: Psychological Theory in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (London, 1975), 503. 48 Michel de Montaigne, Essays, I. 20, in The Complete Essays of Montaigne, trans. Donald Frame (Stanford, 1958), 745; Francis Bacon, The Two Bookes . . . Of the Prociencie and Advancement of Learning (London, 1605, STC 1164), fos. 37v38v, 46r47v; Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 2505 (1. 2. 3. 3). 49 See Lynn Thorndike, A History of Magic and Experimental Science, 8 vols. (New York, 192358), v, 3947; D. P. Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanella (London, 1958), 3840, 7680; Charles B. Schmitt and Dilwyn Knox, Pseudo-Aristoteles Latinus (London, 1985), 3441; Stuart Clark, Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early-Modern Europe (Oxford and New York, 1997), chs. 1213. 50 Francesco Maria Guazzo, Compendium malecarum, ed. M. Summers, trans. E. A. Ashwin (London, 1929), 106; Du Laurens, Discourse of the Preservation of Sight, 99100; Levinus Lemnius, The Secret Miracles of Nature in Four Bookes (London, 1658), II. 1. 869.

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such theories of demonically induced or exacerbated melancholy accorded with ancient authorities,51 and were widely available in the medical and natural-philosophical literature of the era.52 More specically, they also dovetailed neatly with the common assumption that devils were analogically attracted to interfere with complexionate melancholics because of the dark and semi-excremental nature of the black bile predominating in their bodies.53 Alternatively, in accordance with the classical and medieval medical tendency to interpret the symptoms of melancholy and other mental illnesses without recourse to supernatural or occult factors,54 hallucinations and other strange forms of psychic disturbance could be attributed to a corrupted imagination (prava imaginatio). Some physicians did prefer this type of explanation, but it was rarely used to buttress purely naturalistic theories in medical texts. For instance, extreme Galenic rationalism can be found in the writings of Mercuriale, who concentrated exclusively on the natural causes of melancholic delusions, and in the work of the Antwerp physician Thomas Feyens, who argued in his De viribus imaginationis tractatus (1608) that prava imaginatio could itself be responsible for the predominance of black bile in melancholy.55 However, in debates between natural and occult interpretations of melancholy it was far more common for physicians to take the middle ground also occupied by many demonologists. In this respect, Du Laurenss theory of melancholy differed little from the interpretation of hallucinations offered by the Swiss cleric Ludwig Lavater, who cited ancient medical authors to explain the majority of supernatural visions experienced by common
51 Paul of Aegina, The Seven Books, trans. with commentary Francis Adams, 3 vols. (London, 18447), i, 383 (I. 4). 52 See the citations in Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 17499 (1. 2. 1. 23). 53 See, for example, Juan Huarte, Examen de ingenios: The Examination of Mens Wittes, trans. R. C. [Richard Carew] (London, 1594, STC 13891), 925. The distinction between complexionate and pathological melancholy is discussed below. 54 For early modern medical authors the most authoritative treatise sanctioning the naturalistic explanation of mental disease was the Hippocratic On the Sacred Disease, cited and discussed in Jorden, Briefe Discourse, 24. See also Avicenna, Canon medicinae, i, 489 (bk 3, fen 1, doctrina 4, ch. 18) cited in Mercuriale, Medicina practica, I. 10. 49, and misread in Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 400 (1. 3. 1. 3), 428 (1. 3. 3. 1). 55 Thomas Feyens, De viribus imaginationis tractatus (Louvain, 1608), 107; cf. Cotta, Triall of Witch-Craft, 59.

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people as cases of melancholic or mad delusion, but whose overarching purpose in the De spectris was to prove the real existence of ghosts.56 For my present concerns, it is signicant that the examinations of the melancholic imagination found in the writings of European authors like Guazzo, Lavater and Feyens occurred outside the orthodox framework of medical analysis that is, in works of systematic demonology, spectrology or psychology, as opposed to the volumes of practica or treatises De melancholia traditionally used in universities and by learned medical practitioners. Such discussions are indicative of the way in which the disease was beginning to attract attention that was technically extra-medical in nature, and so was becoming less and less the preserve of the elite stratum of learned physicians. More specically, the role attributed to the depraved melancholic imagination in early modern witchcraft and possession controversies across Europe considerably raised and broadened the cultural prole of the disease. As has been well illustrated in a number of recent studies, the potential in the medical notion of the corrupted melancholic imagination to undermine prevailing ideas about witchcraft and possession was realized by contemporary demonologists, many of whom were by no coincidence also medical practitioners.57 In his De rerum varietate (1557), for example, Girolamo Cardano had intimated that witches might not really be witches but victims of melancholic visions.58 The Lutheran physician Johann Weyer developed this view six years later in his De praestigiis daemonum, where he stated that
Ludwig Lavater, Of Ghostes and Spirites, Walking by Night, 2nd edn, trans. R. H. (London, 1596, STC 15321), 913. See also Cotta, Triall of Witch-Craft, 41 2, 823; Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 17499 (1. 2. 1. 23); Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, I. 30, in Thomas Browne, The Major Works, ed. C. A. Patrides (London, 1977), 98. 57 Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic, 1526; Wolfgang Behringer, Melancholie und Hexenverfolgung, in Jehl and Weber (eds.), Melancholie, 3842; Sydney Anglo, Melancholia and Witchcraft: The Debate between Wier, Bodin, and Scot, in A. Gerlo (ed.), Folie et draison la Renaissance (Brussels, 1976); Jean Card, Folie et dmonologie au XVIe sicle, ibid.; Maxime Preaud, La Mlancholie diabolique, la sorcellerie, Les Cahiers du Fontenay, xixii (1978); Sydney Anglo, Reginald Scots Discoverie of Witchcraft: Scepticism and Sadduceeism, in Sydney Anglo (ed.), The Damned Art: Essays in the Literature of Witchcraft (London, 1977); Clark, Thinking with Demons, 113, 11718, 18792, 197213, 239, 265, 273, 394; Brann, Debate over the Origin of Genius, 18998, 3878. 58 Girolamo Cardano, De rerum varietate, VIII. 40, in De subtilitate libri XXI (Basel, 1557), 289.
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witchcraft, and the belief that one was endowed with magical powers, was nothing more than melancholic hallucination brought about by demons.59 In England, perhaps the most famous sceptical argument against witchcraft that employed the concept of melancholy was delivered in the following century by the physician John Webster in The Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft, Wherein Is Afrmed that There Are Many Sorts of Deceivers and Impostors, and Divers Persons under a Passive Delusion of Melancholy and Fancy (1677).60 Similarly, twelve years later in his Table-Talk, John Selden ridiculed exorcism as meere Jugling; they never cast out any but what they rst cast in, and recalled that when a person of quality came to him complaining of having two Devills in his head, Selden quickly discerned that twas only Meloncholly that troubled him.61 However, the essentials of these arguments had been anticipated long before by Reginald Scot, who contributed to the European debate in 1584 by arguing that both witchcraft and demonic possession should be interpreted naturalistically as products of the almost incredible delusory effects of melancholy on the imagination.62 In a counterblast to this subversive argument, James I devoted a chapter of his Daemonologie (1597) to a rebuttal of the identication of witchcraft and melancholy. Employing unimpeachable neo-Galenic orthodoxy, James pointed out that many convicted witches had not exhibited the melancholic symptoms of solitariness, leanness and paleness. In fact, they were some of them rich and worldly-wise, some of them fatte or corpulent in their bodies, and most part of them altogether given over to the pleasures of the esh, continual having of companie, and all kind of merrines.63
59 Johann Weyer, De praestigiis daemonum, et incantationibus ac veneciis libri V, 3rd edn (Basel, 1566), III. 23. 45960. 60 John Webster, The Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft, Wherein Is Afrmed that There Are Many Sorts of Deceivers and Impostors, and Divers Persons under a Passive Delusion of Melancholy and Fancy, but that There Is a Corporeal League Made betwixt the Devil and the Witch . . . Is Utterly Denied and Disproved (London, 1677), 4, 326. 61 The Table-Talk of John Selden (1689), ed. Sir Frederick Pollock (London, 1929), 401, 145. 62 Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft (London, 1651), 43, 3689. See also sigs. B2B3, 56, 1112, 378, 417, 534, 778, 341, and the related discussion at 65, 1303, 136, 1745, 2012. 63 James I and VI, Daemonologie, 2nd edn (London, 1603, STC 14365.5), 30. The procedures for detecting supernaturally caused disease are outlined in Cotta, Triall of Witch-Craft, 6978.

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In these widely read controversies, the medical conception of the depraved melancholic imagination had evidently become a theoretical tool that could be used to support or undermine sceptical cases against different varieties of preternatural or supernatural explanations. It is important to emphasize, however, that this type of usage of medical ideas about melancholy was not restricted to the domain of abstract learned debate. The distinction between real witches and those deemed to be suffering from melancholic delusions had important legal connotations and a concrete social impact in witchcraft trials across the Continent and in America.64 To take the most notorious example, in the controversies at Loudun in the 1630s,65 the Scottish physician Marc Duncan proposed that the remarkable spectacle of the collective possession of the community of nuns could be explained generally by the theory of melancholy. In the rst place, Duncan proposed an expansive symptomatology of melancholy encompassing apparently preternatural or supernatural phenomena; more specically, and in accordance with Pomponazzian doctrine, he argued that the problem of the apparent spread of the symptoms could be solved by a proper understanding of the interpersonal communication of infected spirits effected by the depraved imagination.66 Another anonymous commentator implied facetiously that some of the nuns were probably suffering from a collective prava imaginatio, by ridiculing possession as literally a dramatic performance staged by the Church and acted out by either

D. P. Walker, Unclean Spirits: Possession and Exorcism in France and England in the Late-Sixteenth and Early-Seventeenth Centuries (London, 1981), 1013; Clark, Thinking with Demons, 20810; H. C. Erik Midelfort, Witch-Hunting in Southwestern Germany, 15621684: The Social and Intellectual Foundations (Stanford, 1972), 4950, 834, 185; Midelfort, History of Madness, 182227; Lyndal Roper, Oedipus and the Devil: Witchcraft, Sexuality and Religion in Early-Modern Europe (New York, 1994), 2378; David Harley, Explaining Salem: Calvinist Psychology and the Diagnosis of Possession, Amer. Hist. Rev., ci (1996); Norman Gevitz, The Devil Hath Laughed at the Physicians: Witchcraft and Medical Practice in Seventeenth-Century New England, Jl History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, lv (2000). 65 See Robert Mandrou, Magistrats et sorciers en France au XVII e sicle (Paris, 1968), 194203, 24462; Michel de Certeau, The Possession at Loudun, trans. Michael B. Smith (Chicago and London, 1996); de Certeau, Writing of History, ch. 6. 66 M. Duncan, Discours sur la possession des Religieuses ursulines de Loudun (Saumur, 1634), cited and discussed in de Certeau, Possession at Loudun, 129, 1357. See also ibid., 11721.

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cunning Mimicke[s] or people of a melancholly nature.67 Against the antipossessionists, some physicians implemented the strategy we have seen employed by James I. The writer and physician Pilet de la Mnardire wrote a Traitt de la mlancholie specically aimed at the controversy at Loudun, which argued that no natural melancholic symptomatology could be so broad as to include the range of signs exhibited by the nuns. The logical conclusion, that they were witnessing something that goes beyond nature, signalled that in this instance medicine had to yield to divinity.68 In New England some forty years later, in the case of the demonic possession of Elizabeth Knapp, the Calvinist divine Samuel Willard asserted the priority of divinity in a different manner, stating that even if the subject was melancholic, this cause was subordinate to the true cause of her afiction namely her sinfulness.69 Such cases in the law court hinged upon the applicability and exibility of the pathological theory of melancholy. As in the parallel instance of hysteria, another disease whose theory was widely used to support naturalist interpretations of apparently occult phenomena, the concept of melancholy had become a weapon in an age-old intellectual and professional turf war.70 II The prominence of the role of melancholy in these controversies derived from the fact that it was understood to afict both the body and the soul.71 As such, it could be used to shed light on what Montaigne called the narrow seam between these two parts of the human being,72 a subject that had been popularized in
Anon., Observations upon the Relation, sig. Cr, printed in A Relation of the Deuill Balams Departure out of the Body of the Mother-Prioresse of the Ursuline Nuns of Loudun (London, 1636, STC 1232). See also Ren Pintard, Le Libertinage rudit (Paris, 1943), 2213. 68 Hippolyte-Jules Pilet de la Mnardire, Traitt de la mlancholie, savoir si elle est la cause des effets que lon remarque dans les possdes de Loudon: tir des Rexions de M. [de la Mnardire] sur le Discours de M. D[uncan] (La Flche, 1635); de Certeau, Possession at Loudun, 129, 114, and 10951 generally. 69 See Harley, Explaining Salem (quotation at p. 314). 70 For some English examples, see Jorden, Briefe Discourse, sigs. A2vA4v, 15; Cotta, Triall of Witch-Craft, sig. A4rv, 6978; Willis, Essay of the Pathology of the Brain and Nervous Stock, 7689. For discussion, see Michael MacDonald, Witchcraft and Hysteria in Elizabethan London: Edward Jorden and the Mary Glover Case (London and New York, 1991). 71 See particularly Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 223, Democritus Junior to the Reader. 72 Montaigne, Essays, I. 20. 74.
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European humanist circles by the publication in 1525 of the Aldine edition of Galens De placitis Hippocratis et Platonis, and subsequently by the psycho-physiological theories in treatises De anima by important authors like Melanchthon and Juan Luis Vives.73 In the case of melancholy, it seems, no neo-Galenic physician risked heresy accusations by claiming that the immortal rational soul, or the understanding, could itself be directly touched or primarily affected by melancholy. Rather, the derangement was said to afict the mortal physical habitation of the soul particularly the front ventricle of the brain where the imagination was conventionally located and thereby distort the operation of its faculties.74 By employing this type of explanation, medical theorists were able to maintain that the powers of the sensitive part of the soul in particular were damaged in melancholy, and so preserve its status as a psychological as well as physiological condition. Crucially, it was the diverse effects of melancholy on the operations of the sensitive soul, most notably the production of emotions, which extended the potential usefulness of the concept beyond medicine and its intersection with demonology. The disease was broadly understood as a species of madness or unreason, yet its most prominent features were undoubtedly its most characteristic symptoms fear and sadness. Above all, it was a passionate condition, and it is perhaps signicant that early modern writers claimed to detect a prevalence of the hypochondriacal melancholy in particular, since, if we follow Burtons account, psychological perturbations had a primary aetiological role in this subspecies.75 But to understand the breadth of the cultural resonance of melancholy we must also recognize the multiple and interrelated psychological meanings of the term, which could signify more than just a technically dened pathology in medical discourse. In one sense, the word could signify the humour black bile. In another, as seen in works such as Lemnius De habitu et constitutione corporis (1561), it denoted one
See Nutton, De Placitis Hippocratis et Platonis in the Renaissance. The De anima of Melanchthon and the De anima et vita of Vives were published together on several occasions in the later sixteenth century: see, for example, Johannes Ludovicus Vives, De anima et vita libri tres . . . P. Melanthonis liber unus (Zurich, 1563). 74 See, for example, Du Laurens, Discourse of the Preservation of Sight, 823; cf. Huarte, Examen de ingenios, 904. For this problem, see Grazia Tonelli Olivieri, Galen and Francis Bacon: Faculties of the Soul and the Classication of Knowledge, in Donald R. Kelley and Richard H. Popkin (eds.), The Shapes of Knowledge from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment (Dordrecht, 1991). 75 Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 3789 (1. 2. 5. 4).
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of the four basic temperaments, or humoral complexions, in which black bile predominated in a stable imbalance.76 In medieval and early modern characterology, complexionate melancholy shared the core qualities of the disease of melancholy: the individuals concerned were affected by black bile with consequences that were similarly deleterious for their health and behaviour, but nevertheless not indicative of a pathological state. However, because of the excess of black bile in their bodies, complexionate melancholics were also deemed to be especially susceptible to the disease of melancholy.77 Hence, one of the problems facing medical writers was the maintenance of an effective distinction between the emotional symptoms resulting from a normal melancholic complexion and those rooted in a melancholic disease.78 To complicate matters still further, although the innate temperament was thought to be relatively settled, it was technically theorized as being in permanent ux. The humoral complexion was always, as Lemnius translator wrote, suffring chaung & alteration through a range of internal and external non-natural factors such as diet or mental perturbations that were deemed capable of modifying the elemental qualities in the body. Temperaments were easelye one into an other transmuted.79 In its complexionate sense, melancholy could therefore describe not only the character-type of someone with a humoral temperament more or less permanently dominated by black bile, but also the disposition of those experiencing emotions such as fear or sadness, who were thereby temperamentally if temporarily melancholic. As Burton put it, no man living is free from melancholy in this sence, which was the Character of Mortalitie in postlapsarian man.80 As a consequence, melancholy could legitimately be said to afict anyone experiencing any degree of certain kinds of mental perturbation. The term could be used loosely or metaphorically to refer to a range of passionate
76 Levinus Lemnius, The Touchstone of Complexions: Generallye Applicable, Expedient and Protable for All Such, as Be Desirous & Carefull of their Bodylye Health, trans. Thomas Newton (London, 1576, STC 15456), fo. 148r. 77 Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 138 (1. 1. 1. 15). 78 Burton solved this problem by employing the Aristotelian distinction between disposition and habit: ibid., i, 1369 (1. 1. 1. 5). 79 Lemnius, Touchstone of Complexions, fo. 84r; see also ibid., fos. 4r6r, 26r31r, 33v, 88r. 80 Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 136 (1. 1. 1. 5). See also Thomas Wright, The Passions of the Minde in Generall, 2nd edn (London, 1604, STC 26040), 623.

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conditions, from temporary sadness to extreme irrational derangement, in non-technical literary contexts as in Thomas Dekkers description of the still and melancholy streets of plaguetorn London81 and, one presumes, in everyday speech as well. Melancholy, then, had direct reference in early modern Europe to particular forms of behaviour and experience that were emotional. It is perhaps in part because of this that there is some indication in this period that women, usually deemed especially susceptible to imaginative depravation and so also to strong passions, were marginally more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than men.82 For the same reason, the subject of melancholy attracted a large quantity of moral and spiritual as well as medical attention. As a passionate disease, complexion and disposition it was necessarily given a location within the schemes of virtue and holiness or of vice and sinfulness that were widely propagated orally and in print by learned and popular moralists and divines, and which undoubtedly had a deep experiential impact upon the lives of the early modern population.83 In fact, although both ancient and medieval writings on melancholy had attributed moral and spiritual qualities to melancholic emotions (the latter through discussions of tristitia and more particularly the fusion of acedia, the sin of sloth, with melancholy),84 early modern writings about melancholy are
81 Thomas Dekker, The Wonderfull Yeare 1603: Wherein Is Shewed the Picture of London, Lying Sicke of the Plague (London, 1603, STC 6535.5), sig. C3v. See also the discussion in Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 1368 (1. 1. 1. 5). 82 For example in Ferrand, Treatise on Lovesickness, ed. Beecher and Ciavolella, 2645, 31112; for other gendered aspects of melancholy, see Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 1959 (1. 2. 1. 3), 32830 (1. 2. 4. 1), 41418 (1. 3. 2. 4). See also Midelfort, History of Madness, 378; de Certeau, Possession at Loudun, 11821. 83 The work of Jean Delumeau on this subject is essential: see particularly his Naissance et afrmation de la Rforme (Paris, 1965); Le Catholicisme entre Luther et Voltaire (Paris, 1971) in English as Catholicism between Luther and Voltaire, trans. Jeremy Moiser (London, 1977); La Peur en Occident (XIV eXVIII e sicles): une cit assige (Paris, 1978); Le Pch et la Peur; and Prescription and Reality, in Edmund Leites (ed.), Conscience and Casuistry in Early-Modern Europe (Cambridge, 1988). See also John Bossy, Christianity and the West, 14001700 (Oxford, 1985); Peter Marshall, Fear, Purgatory and Polemic in Reformation England, in William G. Naphy and Penny Roberts (eds.), Fear in Early Modern Society (Manchester, 1997). 84 See Mark D. Altschule, Acedia: Its Evolution from Deadly Sin to Psychiatric Syndrome, Brit. Jl Psychiatry, cxi (1965); Siegfried Wenzel, The Sin of Sloth: Acedia in Medieval Thought and Literature (Chapel Hill, 1967); Noel L. Brann, Is Acedia Melancholy? A Re-Examination of This Question in the Light of Fra Battista da Cremas Della cognitione et vittoria di se stesso (1531), Jl History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, xxxiv (1979).

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most effectively distinguished from their predecessors by the expansion of the cultural context in which melancholic emotions were discussed. The moral-philosophical aspect of this range can be seen in the remedies involving wisdom and selfknowledge commonly proposed for melancholy by learned physicians;85 in the psychological analysis of the virtues and vices accompanying complexions found in works of characterology especially fashionable after Huartes Examen de ingenios (1575) and Casaubons edition of Theophrastus (1592);86 in the moralpsychological writings on the passions by authors such as Thomas Wright and Edward Reynolds;87 and, most famously of all, in dramatic characterizations found in works such as Shakespeares Hamlet and As You Like It.88 In all these areas, there is the recognition that the excessive emotions accompanying either complexionate or pathological melancholy are at least potentially vicious, and therefore either explicitly or by implication that any remedy must involve moral or spiritual self-discipline. The spread of moralized approaches to melancholy and the emotions with which it was associated was a complex phenomenon that derived from an array of different cultural and intellectual sources. In part, it is a development that can be traced to movements in humanist moral philosophy in the late sixteenth century, and it is particularly tempting to reformulate the relationship posited by Benjamin between melancholy and neo-Stoicism. I would suggest that the two were not analogous or essentially identical in their lived states, but instead were domains of intellectual concern that overlapped signicantly and originated from a common source.89 It is certainly the case that the conspicuous increase in interest in Stoic moral philosophy best exemplied on the Continent by the selfconsciously dogmatic writings of Justus Lipsius and Guillaume du Vair, but also a signicant phenomenon in England in the
85 Manardi, IATRODGIA EPISTOLIKH, IV. 5. 40; Ferrand, Treatise on Lovesickness, ed. Beecher and Ciavolella, 366. 86 Lemnius, Touchstone of Complexions, fos. 4rv, 146r, 149v; Huarte, Examen de ingenios, 1478; Theophrasti characteres ethici, sive descriptiones morum Grc, ed. Isaac Casaubon (Lyon, 1592). 87 Wright, Passions of the Minde in Generall, 613; Edward Reynolds, A Treatise of the Passions and Faculties of the Soule of Man, with the Severall Dignities and Corruptions thereunto Belonging (London, 1640, STC 20938), 2912. 88 See Hamlet, II. ii. 6005; As You Like It, IV. i. 1019. 89 Benjamin, Origin of German Tragic Drama, 140.

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writings of those such as Ralegh, Bacon and Joseph Hall90 prompted deep consideration of many of the same moralpsychological issues raised by the subject of melancholy. The humanistic search for a Christianized model of self-sufcient wisdom, whether it drew on Stoic or other classical tenets, was centrally constituted by the recognition of the detrimental role of strong emotions to psychological health and by the discussion of various measures to combat them.91 As such, neo-Stoicism was an outcrop of a more general concern with the perturbations of the soul,92 of which moralized discourses on melancholy were another manifestation. It is suggestive, for instance, that after the death of his wife in 1635, one of the ways the humanist scholar Caspar Barlaeus chose to express his melancholic predicament was by meditating on the difculty of applying to his own life the Stoic principles on which he lectured students at Leiden.93 A close relationship between melancholy and the humanist engagement with classical moral psychology generally is also found in the eclectic and widely read writings of both Montaigne, who said of himself that he was prompted to withdraw from the world and write by a melancholy humour,94 and Pierre Charron, who opposed the destructive and vicious chaos of the passions and the general misery of mankind with the cultivation of Epicurean tranquillity.95 The same psychological preoccupations are present in the early modern consolatio, a genre which burgeoned in a variety of
90 Adriana McCrea, Constant Minds: Political Virtue and the Lipsian Paradigm in England, 15841650 (Toronto, Buffalo and London, 1997). 91 See Justus Lipsius, De constantia libri duo, qui alloquium praecipue Continent in publicis malis (London, 1586) in English as Iustus Lipsius, Two Bookes of Constancie, trans. John Stradling (London, 1595, STC 15695), esp. I. 28. 313; I. 1214. 1924; I. 22. 3840; II. 23. 616; II. 19. 724; Guillaume du Vair, The Moral Philosophie of the Stoicks, trans. Thomas James, 2nd edn (London, 1598, STC 7374), 201, 25, 2931, 3345, 4954, 719, 83113, 13054. 92 See Susan James, Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy (Oxford, 1999), ch. 1; the essays collected in Stephen Gaukroger (ed.), The Soft Underbelly of Reason: The Passions in the Seventeenth Century (London and New York, 1998); Richard Serjeantson, The Passions and Animal Language, 15401700, Jl History of Ideas, lxii (2001). 93 Blok, Caspar Barlaeus, 53. 94 Montaigne, Essays, II. 8. 278. On Montaignes Stoicism, see Hugo Friedrich, Montaigne, ed. Philippe Desan, trans. Dawn Eng (Berkeley and Oxford, 1991), 16975. 95 Pierre Charron, Of Wisdome Three Bookes, trans. Samson Lennard, 4th edn (London, 1630, STC 5054), esp. I. 39. 14460; II. 6. 30511; II. 12. 3658. See also I. 1833. 73106; II. 1111. 235365; III. 6. 44955; III. 2035. 53969.

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literary forms from epistles and funeral orations to full-length treatises and dialogues. The writing of consolations had been an important philosophical project for early Italian humanists,96 but it is notable that the production of this type of discourse markedly accelerated across the Continent from the later sixteenth century onwards. This was particularly the case in northern Europe after the Reformation, where the spiritual dimension of the consolation became increasingly visible.97 In England, the nal decades of the century marked the beginning of an extended period in which sermons, treatises and epistles offering comfort, commonly composed by divines and expounding scriptural topoi, issued from the presses in remarkable numbers.98 These took their place alongside a number of vernacular translations of contemporary continental and classical

96 See George W. McClure, Sorrow and Consolation in the Italian Renaissance (Princeton, 1991). 97 I am unaware of any comprehensive analysis of European consolationes in this period, but for a case study, see William L. Cunningham, Martin Opitz: Poems of Consolation in Adversities of War (Bonn, 1974). On the consolatio in England, see G. W. Pigman III, Grief and English Renaissance Elegy (Cambridge, 1985), chs. 12. 98 For the period from c.1575 to c.1650, see, for example, Andrew Kingsmill, A Most Excellent and Comfortable Treatise, for All Such as Are Any Maner of Way Either Troubled in Minde or Aficted in Bodie (London, 1577, STC 15000); Robert Linaker, A Comfortable Treatise for the Reliefe of Such as Are Aficted in Conscience (London, 1595, STC 15638; repr. 1601, 1610, 1625); Robert Southwell, The Triumphs over Death: or, A Consolatorie Epistle, for Aficted Mindes, in the Affects of Dying Friends. First Written for the Consolation of One, but Now Published for the Generall Good of All (London, 1595, STC 22971; repr. 1596, 1600); John Hayward, The Strong Helper, Offering to Beare Every Mans Burthen: or, A Treatise, Teaching in All Troubles How to Cast our Burthen upon God: but Chiey Delivering Infallible Grounds of Comfort for Quieting of Troubled Consciences (London, 1609, STC 12985; repr. 1614, 1637); John Donne, Deaths Duell: or, A Consolation to the Soule, against the Dying Life, and Living Death of the Body (London, 1632, STC 7031; repr. 1633); Phineas Fletcher, Joy in Tribulation: or, Consolations for the Aficted Spirits (London, 1632, STC 11080); Richard Sibbes, The Soules Conict with It Selfe, and Victorie over It Selfe by Faith: A Treatise of the Inward Disquietments of Distressed Spirits, with Comfortable Remedies to Establish Them (London, 1635, STC 22508.5; repr. 1638); Henry Church, Divine and Christian Letters: To Relieve the Oppressed, Comfort the Mourners, Direct the Wandring (London, 1636, STC 5215); William Gilbert, Architectonice consolationis: or, The Art of Building Comfort Occasioned by the Death of That Religious Gentlewoman, Jane Gilbert (London, 1640, STC 11882); John Duncon, The Returnes of Spiritual Comfort and Grief in a Devout Soul: Represented (by Entercourse of Letters) to the Right Honorable the Ladie Letice, Vi-Countess Falkland, in her Life Time, and Exemplied in the Holie Life and Death of the Said Honorable Ladie (London, 1648; repr. 1649, 1653).

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consolationes.99 That the emotional concerns of this growing body of literature overlapped with medical and philosophical discourses on melancholy is indicated not only by the justications that contemporaries provided for this genre Henry Peacham, for instance, described the consolatio as most necessarily required in this vale of misery, where mens harts are often fainting, and their mindes falling into despaire100 but also by the substantial consolationes found within both Timothy Brights Treatise of Melancholie and Burtons Anatomy.101 As the large number of consolatory works written by divines indicates, interest in disturbing passions was not the exclusive preserve of humanist philosophy. In fact, I would suggest that the development of the spiritual aspect of early modern ideas about disturbing emotions was the single most important factor fuelling the expansion of the potential usage of the idea of melancholy across European intellectual discourse. On this point, we would do well to consider Jean Delumeaus suggestion that both Protestant and Catholic reform movements shared a signicantly increased attentiveness to the psychological interior as the location of spiritual health. Although Delumeaus analysis invites multiple local qualications, if he is broadly correct the soul increasingly became prescribed as the proper object of internal eschatological expectations, as well as external disciplinary pressures, that were of an unprecedented intensity.102 In the rst place, Delumeaus case is strongly supported by the fact that the principal strains of Protestant theology ascribed a specic role to extreme passions of the soul, particularly despair, in the drama of individual salvation. Luther, who
99 See Girolamo Cardano, Cardanus comforte, trans. Thomas Bedingeld (London, 1573, STC 4607; repr. 1576); Juan Prez de Pineda, An Excelent Comfort to All Christians, against All Kinde of Calamities: No Lesse Comfortable, then Pleasant, Pithy, and Protable, trans. John Daniel (London, 1576, STC 19626); Caspar Huberinus, A Riche Storehouse, or Treasurie, for the Sicke, Full of Christian Counsels: Holesome Doctrines, Comfortable Persuasions, and Godly Meditations, Meete for All Christians, Both in Sicknesse and in Health, trans. Thomas Godfrie (London, 1578, STC 13905); L. A. Seneca the Philosopher, his Book of Consolation to Marcia, trans. Sir Ralph Freeman (London, 1635, STC 22215a); Hugo Grotius, The Mourner Comforted: An Epistle Consolatory, trans. Clement Barksdale (London, 1652). 100 Henry Peacham, The Garden of Eloquence, 2nd edn (London, 1593, STC 19498), 1001. 101 Bright, Treatise of Melancholie, 182242; Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, ii, 125207 (2. 3. 1. 1 to 2. 3. 8. 1). 102 See the works cited in n. 83 above.

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described himself as an experienced melancholic, referred on many occasions both to melancholia and its spiritual equivalent of tristitia. Sadness, for him, was simultaneously a salutary means of comprehending ones own weakness and a pathology of the soul. It was both to be fought as a devilish temptation, and to be welcomed as provoking a turning to God for help the experience of misery could thus be a precondition for the believers salvation, by prompting the acknowledgement that justication would come sola de. However, if the individual chose to struggle using his or her own means, then such presumption and inadequate comprehension of divine omnipotence would herald the onset of sinful despair, true spiritual tristitia or melancholy.103 Similarly, according to Calvin, the activity of self-examination before the mirror of Gods law created anxiety and dejection, but this would provoke the turning to God required for the reception of saving grace. In contrast to Luthers ambivalent appraisal of tristitia, therefore, for Calvin, despair had a necessary and unequivocally positive eschatological function. Properly interpreted, it was a sign of the working of divine providence, part of the punishment preceding redemption that manifested itself in the aficted conscience.104 David Harley has shown that seventeenth-century English physicians often applied Calvinist psychology of this sort, interpreting the melancholic passion of sorrow as a divinely sent afiction that was propaedeutic to godly virtue, and constructing fear as a useful stimulus to the realization of spiritual weakness.105 Such ideas were also publicly articulated
Martin Luther, Table Talk, trans. William Hazlitt (London, 1995), 282, 2912, 3002, 3045, 307, nos. 587, 589, 600, 61112, 634, 636, 638, 645, 647, 649, 656. For discussion, see Schleiner, Melancholy, Genius, and Utopia, 6672; Midelfort, History of Madness, 83108. 104 Jean Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 7th edn, trans. J. Allen, revised B. B. Wareld, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1936), i, 398 (II. 8. 3). 105 David Harley, Spiritual Physic, Providence and English Medicine, 1560 1640, in Ole Peter Grell and Andrew Cunningham (eds.), Medicine and the Reformation (London and New York, 1993); David Harley, The Theology of Afiction and the Experience of Sickness in the Godly Family, 16501714: The Henrys and the Newcombes, in Ole Peter Grell and Andrew Cunningham (eds.), Religio Medici: Medicine and Religion in Seventeenth-Century England (Aldershot, 1996). See also Michael MacDonald, Religion, Social Change, and Psychological Healing in England, 16001800, in W. J. Sheils (ed.), The Church and Healing (Oxford, 1982). I have not yet been able to consult David Lederer, Psychiatry in the Sixteenth Century? Spiritual Physic in Early Modern Europe, in F. Fuentenebro, R. Huertas and C. Valiente (eds.), Historia de la Psiquiatra en Europa (Madrid, 2003).
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by learned divines like Reynolds, but were viewed by others in the Reformed Church as misleading and spiritually dangerous hence Richard Baxters caveat against placing Religion too much in fears, and tears.106 As Delumeau has demonstrated, however, it is quite wrong to associate the increased internalization of spirituality, and spiritualization of psychology, solely with Protestantism. Heightened consciousness of the souls vicious passions as a consequence of original sin can be seen, for instance, in the myriad of Catholic works portraying the Christian life as a perpetual psychomachy. Although important to Reformed religious culture, in Delumeaus view this was a tradition exemplied most famously by Erasmus Enchiridion militis Christiani (1503), though more typically by Lorenzo Scupolis popular Combattimento Spirituale (1589) that encapsulates Counter-Reformation spirituality in toto.107 Reading such works, it is easy to see how in the pervasively Augustinian religious culture of Europe the melancholic emotions of fear and sadness became spiritually loaded. Signs of the just divine punishment for Adamic transgression, irrational passions served as a constant reminder of the corrupted postlapsarian will, the recognition of which was frequently portrayed as the rst step in redemption. Such generalizations are inevitably precarious, and the religious signicance of melancholy, increasingly evident in medical as well as moral-psychological writings in post-Reformation Europe, must be assessed carefully in specic contexts. This is not least because the theory of the disease was perfectly suited for use in sectarian controversy.108 Most simply, religious schismatics could be demonized as suffering from brain-sicke zeale
106 Reynolds, Treatise of the Passions and Faculties of the Soule of Man, 2213, 2267, 2989; Baxter, Reliquiae Baxterianae, pt 3, 184, p. 86. 107 Delumeau, Sin and Fear, 186326 and passim. Scupolis work was translated into English in 1598 Lorenzo Scupoli, The Spiritual Conict (Antwerp, 1598, STC 22126.3) and reprinted several times throughout the seventeenth century. On English portrayals of psychomachy in this period, see also MacDonald, Religion, Social Change, and Psychological Healing, 11315. 108 See Schleiner, Melancholy, Genius, and Utopia, 74110; Heyd, Be Sober and Reasonable, 1171; H. C. Erik Midelfort, Religious Melancholy and Suicide: On the Reformation Origins of a Sociological Stereotype, in Andrew D. Weiner and Leonard V. Kaplan (eds.), Madness, Melancholy and the Limits of the Self (Graven Images, iii, Madison, 1996).

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and melancholic delusions this was the use made of different forms of madness by Luther,109 and of melancholy by Zwingli.110 Of greater importance in the later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, however, was the direct association repeatedly made between predestination and melancholy. Again, the scene for this linkage had been set by Luther, who had warned explicitly that meditation upon ones future election was sinful, spiritually dangerous, and productive only of anxiety.111 In Germany from the 1560s onwards, this warning was developed into a charge specically against Calvinism, which was increasingly attacked by Lutherans as fostering melancholy through its terrifying overemphasis on the predestinarian decree.112 The association of particular interpretations of the theology of grace with melancholy persisted across the Continent in the seventeenth century,113 and in England we can see its controversial potential being exploited to the full. Here, until the end of the sixteenth century, the polemical usefulness of the idea of melancholy was limited by Protestant physicians and puritan divines, who upheld a rigorous distinction between, on the one hand, the kind of despair betokening a naturally caused melancholy, and, on the other, that indicating a divinely aficted conscience. Medical and theological perspectives on the disease were thus kept apart at the theoretical level, even if in practice the divide between the professions of physician and divine was commonly traversed. Melancholy had its causes in either body or soul, but theological ideas had no explicit aetiological role.114 In the divisive climate of the Laudian 1620s and 1630s, however, as the doctrine of predestination became increasingly fraught with controversy, this situation changed. The crucial theoretical and polemical intervention in this respect was made
109 110

Midelfort, History of Madness, 836. For Zwinglis attack on the Anabaptists, and its anti-puritan application in England, see Schleiner, Melancholy, Genius, and Utopia, 118, 121. See also James I and VI, Basilikon Doron (London, 1603, STC 14353), sig. B5. 111 Martin Luther, Letters of Spiritual Counsel, ed. and trans T. G. Tappert, 1378; Luther, Table Talk, 310, no. 661. 112 See Schleiner, Melancholy, Genius, and Utopia, 745. 113 For example, see the case related in Blok, Caspar Barlaeus, 1634. 114 See, for instance, Bright, Treatise of Melancholie, 182242, esp. 187; William Perkins, The Whole Treatise of the Cases of Conscience (Cambridge, 1606, STC 19669), I. 712. 88197. Compare the confusion of the two in Lemnius, Touchstone of Complexions, fos. 144r145r.

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by Burton in the nal section of the Anatomy, where he drew upon the ancient association of spiritual enthusiasm with melancholy to designate a new religious subspecies of the disease. This was a wide category, including conditions ranging from superstitious Catholic madness and atheistic apostasy to the frenzied enthusiasm of radical Protestant sects.115 Although supercially Burton offered a systematic analysis of all the different kinds of religious melancholy, his deeper motivation in this part of his work was anti-Calvinist. First, he eroded the distinction between theological and medical understandings of divinely sent despair and natural melancholy, by initially distinguishing but then confusing the two in an extended consolatory discourse at the end of the book.116 Subsequently, and barely concealing his Laudian sympathies, he revived the Lutheran case against Calvinism by attacking dogmatic predestinarianism as a form of enthusiasm that caused widespread melancholy.117 It is in this part of the Anatomy, which relied upon the traditionally sanctioned role of strong passions in inducing melancholy but referred only obliquely to medical technicalities, that the potential expansiveness and polemical utility of the early modern concept of melancholy is most visible. And it is no accident that here lay Burtons most important legacy. Sermons and treatises dealing with religious melancholy became commonplace in England, from Edmund Gregorys Historical Anatomy of Christian Melancholy (1646) through to Richard Baxters Signs and Causes of Melancholy (1706).118 More critically, Burtons analysis of spiritual enthusiasm as a form of melancholic madness was developed and employed for similar purposes in learned circles by Mric Casaubon (like Burton a
115 116 117

Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, iii, 330446 (3. 4. 1. 1 to 3. 4. 2. 6). Ibid., 40811 (3. 4. 2. 2), 42446 (3. 4. 2. 6). Ibid., 42935 (3. 4. 2. 6). I give a detailed analysis of this strategy in Angus Gowland, The Worlds of Renaissance Melancholy: Robert Burton in Context, Cambridge Univ. Press, forthcoming, ch. 3. 118 See, for example, Edmund Gregory, An Historical Anatomy of Christian Melancholy (London, 1646); John Humfrey, A Brief Receipt Moral & Christian, against the Passion of the Heart, or Sore of the Mind (London, 1658); Thomas Powell, A Salve for Soul-Sores (London, 1679); John Moore, Of Religious Melancholy (London, 1692); Richard Baxter, The Signs and Causes of Melancholy (London, 1706); Richard Baxter, Preservatives against Melancholy and Over-Much Sorrow, or the Cure of Both (London, 1716).

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Student of Christ Church) and Henry More,119 and was put to devastating satirical use by Swift in his Tale of a Tub (1704).120 Moreover, the specically Lutheran terms of the critique of melancholic Calvinist spirituality remained relevant to the English religious and political climate in the nal decades of the seventeenth century, as the title of a sermon commending mirth heard by Ralph Thoresby, and recorded in his diary, well illustrates: Spiritus Calvinisticus est spiritus melancholicus.121 For their part, eighteenth-century physicians had no qualms about incorporating the vocabulary and much of the content of the older account of religious psychopathology within their selfconsciously new scientic teachings of nervous disease, as Robinsons New System of the Spleen attests.122 Even more strikingly, the bifurcated theory systematically presented in the Anatomy underlay David Humes dissection of the pernicious psychological and political effects of the two species of false religion, superstition and enthusiasm, in his famous essay of 1742.123 As the range and complexity of its different usages suggests, the effects of the spiritual and political relativization of the concept of melancholy in the course of the seventeenth century should be handled with care. Michael MacDonald has argued that in England, rather than the internal advancement of scientic theory, it was the systematic mobilization of arguments
119 Mric Casaubon, A Treatise Concerning Enthusiasme, as It Is an Effect of Nature, but Is Mistaken by Many for either Divine Inspiration, or Diabolical Possession (London, 1654); Henry More, Enthusiasmus triumphatus: or, A Discourse of the Nature, Causes, Kinds, and Cure, of Enthusiasme (Cambridge, 1656). See also John F. Sena, Melancholic Madness and the Puritans, Harvard Theological Rev., lxvi (1973); Heyd, Be Sober and Reasonable, ch. 3. 120 Thomas Canavan, Robert Burton, Jonathan Swift, and the Tradition of AntiPuritan Invective, Jl History of Ideas, xxxii (1973); Philip Harth, Swift and Anglican Rationalism: The Religious Background of A Tale of a Tub (Chicago, 1961), 1058, 11316. 121 The Diary of Ralph Thoresby, F. R. S., ed. Joseph Hunter, 2 vols. (London, 1830), i, 76 (9 Jan. 1681), cited by David Harley, Mental Illness, Magical Medicine and the Devil in Northern England, 15601700, in Roger French and Andrew Wear (eds.), The Medical Revolution of the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), 124. 122 Robinson, New System of the Spleen, Vapours, and Hypochondriack Melancholy, 23640. 123 David Hume, Of Superstition and Enthusiasm, in David Hume, Political Essays, ed. Knud Haakonssen (Cambridge, 1994), 4650, where melancholy is associated with superstition, though not with enthusiasm.

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about madness in religious dispute, particularly the aforementioned establishment critique of puritan enthusiasm, that was primarily responsible for the late seventeenth-century rise of a secular medical psychopathology. In this view, the government elite, prompted by the turmoil of the Civil War and disturbed by the political implications of the private revelations claimed by radical sects, sought to repudiate the spiritual healing techniques of puritan practical divinity, and it was the ardent rationalism of the scientists and philosophers that provided the most effective and readily available ammunition.124 Loosely echoing Foucault, MacDonald concludes that this had catastrophic consequences for the insane, because, as almost everyone at the time agreed, spiritual healing was both successful and popular. By contrast, we are told, contemporary medicine failed to develop an effective or uncontroversial alternative explanatory model and presented only a narrow, rigidly physical therapy whose institutional counterpart was the inhumane environment of the asylum.125 There is much that is persuasive in this account, and its emphasis on the attraction of aspects of the new science to contemporaries concerned to uphold religious and political stability is especially valuable,126 but in my view it needs to be qualied in three ways. First, it is misleading to portray a triumph of medical conceptions of madness occurring in the century after the Civil War in terms of a radical displacement of spiritual by physical systems of explanation and treatment. Although it is undeniable that the reduction of the psychic to the somatic was becoming increasingly explicit in medical texts, melancholy (like frenzy and mania) had consistently been considered by Galenic practitioners to be anchored physiologically in a complexionate imbalance, even though occult and spiritual factors were typically incorporated at a secondary level. In the eighteenth century, physicians and divines continued to present rival models of psychology: Wesleys doctrine of the witness of the spirit, for example, explicitly challenged the conventional medical distinction between natural and supernatural experience,
124 125 126

MacDonald, Religion, Social Change, and Psychological Healing, esp. 1016. Ibid., 11920, 1225. This is elaborated in Roy Porter, The Rage of Party: A Glorious Revolution in English Psychiatry?, Medical Hist., xxvii (1983).

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and was central to the successful appeal of Methodism.127 The image of orthodox medicine in either period as presenting entirely physical or hyper-rationalist anti-spiritual remedies for insanity is also inaccurate. The therapeutic options for melancholy routinely made available by Galenic physicians and their iatromechanical successors were not just pharmacological or surgical, but were eclectic, and based upon the recognition of the value of spiritual measures as well as such ancient psychological treatments as travel and conversation with friends.128 MacDonalds implication that learned physicians, in contrast to their psychologically sophisticated spiritual counterparts, had nothing worthwhile to offer melancholics because (despite their claims) they did not possess an adequately advanced understanding of the condition is unconvincing.129 We should resist the straightforward association of the increasing acceptance of medical psychology with progressive secularization in similar terms. There had always been a suspiciously heterodox strand of technically atheistic materialism in Galenic theory and practice, manifested most clearly in the tendency to diagnose dysfunctions of the faculties of the soul in terms of the qualitative imbalance of the body. More importantly, medical writers in Restoration England, like their counterparts in experimental natural philosophy, were careful to emphasize the theological rectitude of their output, especially with regard to the relationship between physiological and pneumatic or pneumatological doctrines.130 Although religious melancholy became less of a pressing concern for learned physicians, the principal conicts played out in this era were not clearly delineated between religious and secular or medical conceptions of illness, or between occult and scienticmechanical theories of human nature. They were rather between
127 See Anne Taves, Fits, Trances, and Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James (Princeton, 1999), chs. 13, esp. pp. 4758. 128 See, for example, the therapies discussed in Robinson, New System of the Spleen, Vapours, and Hypochondriack Melancholy, 324408. See also Porters remarks in Cheyne, English Malady, pp. xiixiv. 129 MacDonald, Religion, Social Change, and Psychological Healing, 123. 130 See, for example, the concessions to spiritual propriety in the materialist account in Robinson, New System of the Spleen, Vapours, and Hypochondriack Melancholy, 23651. Generally, see Simon Schaffer, Godly Men and Mechanical Philosophers: Souls and Spirits in Restoration Natural Philosophy, Science in Context, i (1987).

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competing visions of the relationship between God, spirit and matter, as well as, by extension, between individuals, groups and institutions that shared a common preoccupation with countering the threat of atheism, and had invested their social and political capital in those visions.131 Lastly, viewing the rise of post-Galenic medical psychology as exclusively or even primarily a by-product of cultural change carries with it some questionable assumptions and implications. Many historians in recent decades have fruitfully redescribed important features of what was once unproblematically called the scientic revolution as the product of contingent social, religious, and political developments and conicts, rather than a purely intellectual enterprise of accumulating objective knowledge through disinterested investigation. But the notion that the persuasive power of this aspect of the new science in England is to be found in its accidental suitability to the anti-puritan agenda of the political and ecclesiastical establishment conceals the true complexity of the processes by which the new models of physiology and psychology came increasingly to be accepted in literate society. Eighteenth-century writings on melancholy, spleen, vapours, hypochrondria and hysteria that theorized their physiological basis gained purchase upon the minds of the public, at least in part, because they drew in a highly conspicuous manner upon what were proclaimed as new doctrines of nerves, bres and spirit.132 These had been pioneered and effectively propagated by the neurological research of gures such as Willis and Robert Whytt, and by the experimental pneumatics of natural philosophers such as Hooke and Boyle. One does not need to appeal to their intrinsic truthfulness to explain their contemporary persuasiveness.
131 132

Schaffer, Godly Men and Mechanical Philosophers, 578, 6579. For some important theories of nervous mental disorder, see John Purcell, A Treatise of Vapours: or, Hysterick Fits. Containing an Analytical Proof of its Causes, Mechanical Explanations of All its Symptoms and Accidents, according to the Newest and Most Rational Principles (London, 1702); Bernard Mandeville, A Treatise of the Hypochondriack and Hysterick Passions, Vulgarly Calld the Hypo in Men and Vapours in Women (London, 1711); Robert Whytt, Observations on the Nature, Causes, and Cure of Those Disorders which Have Been Commonly Called Nervous, Hypochondriac, or Hysteric: To Which Are Prexed Some Remarks on the Sympathy of the Nerves (Edinburgh, 1765). For useful studies, see Roger French, Robert Whytt, The Soul and Medicine (London, 1969); L. J. Rather, Mind and Body in Eighteenth-Century Medicine (Berkeley, 1965).

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They had been carefully formulated and packaged for delivery to the reading public as facts through media that artfully exploited emergent technologies of knowledge. That is to say, they were presented as the products of the controlled environment of the anatomical theatre or laboratory, validated by collective rather than individual witnessing, and disseminated through an increasingly sophisticated and rapidly expanding publishing market.133 This is not to deny the important role of contemporary spiritual politics in providing not just a hospitable environment for seventeenth- and eighteenth-century medical psychology, but also, in the case of those who perceived a dual threat in atheism and enthusiasm, a clear intellectual structure that was by no accident mirrored in the content of some medical-scientic theory. It is, however, to reject the idea that the progressively widespread acceptance of medical conceptions of insanity was absolutely contingent upon religious politics. Although intimately bound up with the cultural dynamics of the era, arguments for the physiological basis of madness were also the product of empirical inquiries into the objective structure of the human organism that possessed powerful means of commanding assent. If the idealist-intellectual model of scientic progress tells only a part of the story here, the same must be said of its strong social constructionist (or reductionist) equivalent. The English preoccupation with melancholy as the mental afiction par excellence gradually waned in the course of the eighteenth century not because there was a decrease in the incidence of psychic disorders, nor because the spiritual politics changed, but in the rst place because the investigations of those such as Willis convinced the medical-scientic community that the symptoms of the disease should not be traced to the non-existent black bile, or indeed to any humour, but rather to the dysfunction of the nerves in mediating between body and brain. Gradually, the terminology used to classify conditions exhibiting symptoms of chronic fear, sadness, anxiety and hallucinations was adapted accordingly. As Robinson noted in suggestively
The literature on this subject is now immense, but see, particularly, Adrian Johns, The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (Chicago and London, 1998). On the role of the laboratory and collective testimony in Restoration natural philosophy, see Schaffer, Godly Men and Mechanical Philosophers, 5965, 723.
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nominalist fashion, the old distemper calld Melancholy was exchangd for Vapours, and afterwards for the Hypp, and at last took up the now current appellation of the Spleen.134 Although the word melancholy continued to be used to describe particular forms of nervous disease, far fewer medical treatises included the word in their title, and hypochondria was typically no longer considered to be a subspecies of melancholy. Concern about widespread spleen, hypochondria, hysteria and Cheynes English Malady displaced concern about widespread melancholy, which became just one among many names for the confusing morass of nervous diseases now said to be aficting the nation.135 III The vexed question of the causes of the perceived frequency of melancholy in later sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Europe is best answered, then, by attending to the exible utility of the concept of melancholy in different religious, political and social contexts. To understand the apparent spread of the disease, we must consider why it was that the symptoms associated with melancholy came to be seen as pathological signs, and who saw them as such. This is not to deny that the condition, in any of its putative forms, was real. When properly applied, the term undoubtedly referred to objective pathological states whose existence was to some extent independent of contemporary systems of classication. But it is inescapable that melancholy was simultaneously constructed by medical theories and broad cultural expectations, which interacted dynamically with individual experiences of the disease in complicated and, in some cases, unfathomable ways.136 As with many forms of psychopathology, melancholy often exhibited distinctive socially situated characteristics, and it seems that medical practitioners sometimes tailored their diagnoses correspondingly. One melancholic type, in accordance with contemporary beliefs about possession and witchcraft, was
134 Quoted in G. S. Rousseau, Enlightenment Crossings (Manchester and New York, 1991), 106. 135 See Porter, Mind Forgd Manacles, 4761, 8891, 1624, 169, 228. 136 For discussion of the problems raised by historically variable forms of psychopathology, see Ian Hacking, The Social Construction of What? (Cambridge, Mass., and London, 1999), ch. 4; Ian Hacking, Mad Travelers: Reections on the Reality of Transient Mental Illnesses (Charlottesville and London, 1998).

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the elderly woman, who was also thought doubly prone to the condition because ageing was theorized in orthodox physiology as a process of desiccation.137 More generally, melancholy has often been described as a fashionable disease amongst the middling and higher social orders. This is problematic, since despite its periodic association with intellectual ability, it was widely seen as sinful, vicious and debilitating, and was often linked with poverty.138 However, the rich diet and idle lifestyle of both nobility and gentry were commonly considered to lead to the disease, and there is evidence testifying that in some cases the poor were less likely to be diagnosed with the disease than the rich.139 As Mayernes casebooks suggest, it is not unreasonable to conclude that in some courtly and elite circles at least, there was a culture of melancholy legitimized by neo-Galenic medicine, and that this ourished in the hospitable environment provided by learned philosophical and spiritual discourse.140 Another suggestive social aspect of the disease is presented by the subspecies of scholarly melancholy, said to be brought about by the regimental imbalance of a sedentary, solitary life coupled with excessive intellectual activity, and involving a downward spiral of mental xation, anxiety and madness.141 It is a moot point whether large numbers of early modern scholars were truly melancholy in a way that would have satised contemporary physicians, though there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence to prove that many thought that they were.142 This is
137 See particularly de Certeau, Possession at Loudun, 1213, 246; Roper, Oedipus and the Devil; Robin Briggs, Witches and Neighbours: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (London, 1996); Clark, Thinking with Demons, chs. 3644. For the association of melancholy with old age, see Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 2035 (1. 2. 1. 5). 138 Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 34455 (1. 2. 4. 6). 139 MacDonald, Mystical Bedlam, 1512. 140 See Nance, Turquet de Mayerne as Baroque Physician, 135. 141 See Hippocrates, Epidemics, VI. 5. 5, in uvres compltes, ed. and trans. E. Littr, 10 vols. (Amsterdam, 183961), v, 31617; Plato, Timaeus, 87e88a, trans. R. G. Bury (London, 1929), 2389; Rufus of Ephesus, uvres, 455; Constantinus Africanus, Opera (Basel, 1536), 284; Ficino, De vita, I. 4, in Opera, i, 4967; Lemnius, Touchstone of Complexions, fos. 52v, 75r, 136v; Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 3023 (1. 2. 3. 15). 142 See, for example, the case discussed in Williss Oxford Casebook, ed. Dewhurst, 1456; Blok, Caspar Barlaeus; and Cambridge Jests: or, Witty Alarums for Melancholy Spirits by a Lover of Ha, Ha, He (London, 1674), an anonymous collection of jokes which judging from its collegiate content was geared towards melancholic students.

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clearest in cases of such self-described experts on melancholy as Burton, who claimed authority on the subject on the basis of his own suffering,143 and who represents the paradigmatically poor and marginalized melancholic scholar conned to his college, deprived of patronage and real political power, and busying himself in scholarship, bitter satirical denunciation of the world, and the construction of a fanciful utopia.144 Whether one should see scholarly melancholy as a peculiarly doxogenic form of the disease is probably unanswerable,145 but there seems to me to be a kernel of truth in the clich that some writers cultivated aspects of the condition, consciously or unconsciously. It is tempting to speculate that the theory of melancholic genius could have served in psychoanalytic terms to provide a kind of secondary gain attached to the scholarly form of the disease, bringing with it benets that were both external (peer recognition, comforting attention from friends, the consolidation of intellectual status for posterity) and internal (the self-image in which the melancholic mind was elevated above its healthy counterpart).146 If they could be discerned in particular cases, secondary processes rationalizing the idea that, as Burton put it in his consolatio against melancholy, it was better to be miserable then happy, could help explain the apparent nurturing of melancholic personae amongst many early modern writers.147 They seem to be present, for example, in the protracted correspondence between Caspar Barlaeus and his friends Petrus Cunaeus and Constantijn Huygens on the subject of the formers illness. In 1632, Barlaeus wrote to Cunaeus describing his descent into melancholy having overexerted himself in his studies. Cunaeus comforting reply, surely invited by Barlaeus explanation, reminded him that melancholy was a normal complaint of great minds. This strategy was elaborated in a later letter by Cunaeus, who went on to remind his correspondent that the melancholic should see himself in
143 144

Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 8, Democritus Junior to the Reader. Ibid., i, 5, 8597, Democritus Junior to the Reader; i, 30727 (1. 2. 3. 15); ii, 18990 (2. 3. 6. 1). On melancholy and utopianism, see Lepenies, Melancholy and Society, 328, 141, 1469. 145 On this idea, see Hacking, Mad Travelers, 11. 146 The poetic cultivation of melancholy had been inuentially identied and ridiculed in Horace, Ars poetica, ll. 290304. 147 Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, ii, 207 (2. 3. 8. 1).

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the company of heroes such as Socrates, Plato, and almost everyone else who excelled either in philosophy or in the government of the state. It is hardly surprising that Barlaeus gratefully acknowledged the cheering effect of Cunaeus arguments.148 At the very least, the theory of melancholic genius was used to make sense of and alleviate scholarly melancholy.149 It is perhaps by asking how the emotions most strongly associated with melancholy, fear and sadness, became associated with disease that we come closest to understanding how the disease could be seen to have spread throughout the population. And here it is possible to see that the association of Protestantism with melancholy is misconceived. As we have noted, Protestant theology, Calvinism especially, incorporated such emotions within a redemptive psychotherapeutic structure: extreme sadness could be the sign of the souls impending salvation. But any questioning of the potentially benecial aspects of despair, whether from a medical-psychological or moralphilosophical perspective, was simultaneously an encouragement to label the incidence of habitual sorrow as in some sense pathological. Although most physicians and divines were eager or willing to combine medical and spiritual perspectives on disease, the potential conict between the two remained. From a Galenic rationalist perspective, what a divine saw as an aficted conscience requiring spiritual consolation might be revealed to be a natural condition of melancholy needing physic.150 In intellectual-structural terms, at least in Protestant countries, in the meeting between humanist classicism and Christianity it was the former particularly moral philosophy and Galenic medicine and not the latter that was more likely to have created the impression of extensive melancholy, by assigning what theologians deemed painful but normal spiritual-emotional experiences to an aberrant pathological category.151 Whilst
Blok, Caspar Barlaeus, 31, 3940, 42, 646, 70. See Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, ii, 2067 (2. 3. 8. 1). For later parallels with regard to spleen and hypochondria, see Porter, Rage of Party, 457. 150 See the implication, for example, in Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 1734 (1. 2. 1. 1). Cf. Caspar Bartholin, Opuscula quatuor singularia (Copenhagen, 1628), fo. 3r: non enim verbis sed herbis aeger curatur. 151 For the pathological dimension of psychological affections, see the locus classicus in Galen, On the Doctrines of Hippocrates and Plato, ed. and trans. Phillip De Lacy, 2 vols. (Berlin, 197884), i, 294313.
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physicians and clerics could straddle the divide between medicine and theology, attributing some cases to physiological causes and others to divine providence, the fact remains that the pervasive early modern notion that certain extreme or unrelenting emotions should be seen as pathological symptoms was a creation not of Christianity, and certainly not of Protestantism, but rather of ancient moral philosophy and medicine.152 My suggestion, then, is that rather than locating the cause of early modern perceptions of pervasive melancholy in psychological trauma brought about by religious change or dogma, we should look to the factors prompting an expansion of melancholy as a diagnostic category and encouraging its application to different social groups. A great part of the explanation for these perceptions must be attributed to developments in European intellectual culture in the course of the sixteenth century. The most prominent of these was the growth of occultism in learned discourse. But it was the broad increase of theological and philosophical interest in the passions of the soul that most effectively expanded the number of ways in which it was possible to see melancholy in the population of early modern Europe. Critically, however, concerns about widespread melancholy were intimately bound up with perceptions of the world, and it is obvious that these perceptions did not occur in an intellectual vacuum. Inquiries into the passions were inquiries about the occlusion of reason and the breakdown of psychic harmony in the individual, but also, implicitly or explicitly, about the disintegration of the harmony in society as a whole.153 This is especially evident in neo-Stoicism, where the search for freedom from the passions in the individual soul was clearly presented as a response to perceived turmoil in the external world. For Lipsius, the De constantia elaborated the path to tranquillity in publicis malis, specically the civil wars in the Low Countries but also the conicts in Europe as a whole.154 For du Vair, the
152 I am here in agreement with Midelfort, History of Madness, 3767, where the apparent rise of melancholy in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Wrzburg is attributed to the institutional links between the university medical faculty and its hospital. 153 James, Passion and Action, 23. See also Peter Harrison, Reading the Passions: The Fall, the Passions and Dominion over Nature, in Gaukroger (ed.), Soft Underbelly of Reason, 625; Porter, Rage of Party, 358. 154 Lipsius, Two Bookes of Constancie, I. 1. 12.

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turn to Stoic moral psychology was a patriotic act of comfort after the multiple bloody calamities of the French religious wars.155 A different variation can be found in Raleghs neoStoic advocacy of psychological fortitude as a protection for England against the vicious ambition of the Spanish.156 Montaignes retreat from public life, which he saw as torn and degraded by the passionate animosities of the religious wars, is well known,157 as are Charrons anti-dogmatic politique sympathies and dislike of the religious zealotry he identied as a cause of the political turmoil aficting his homeland.158 In other words, early modern investigations of the passions were rooted in a particular kind of response to events in contemporary Europe, and were politically and socially signicant. This is reected by the frequent employment in moral-psychological treatises of metaphorical language mapping external macrocosmic conict onto the internal microcosm passions were seditious, the cause of Civil dissension in the soul, and so on.159 Although commonplace, such usages derive substantively from the classical association, widely articulated in humanist literature, of virtuous rationality with political harmony and vicious passions with lawlessness.160 The pervasive perception that post-Reformation Europe was spiralling downwards into chaos with the onset and development of war, interpreted by many as punishment for humanitys collective sinfulness and the sign of the impending Apocalypse,161 therefore also brought with it (at least for those versed in politics and moral
155 Du Vair, Moral Philosophie of the Stoicks, 6. On the social disturbances generated by the French religious wars, see Denis Crouzet, Recherches sur les processions blanches, 15831584, Histoire, conomie, et socit, iv (1982); Denis Crouzet, La Reprsentation du temps lpoque de la Ligue, Revue historique, dxlviii (1984); Denis Crouzet, Les Guerriers de Dieu: la violence au temps des troubles de religion (vers 1525vers 1610), 2 vols. (Seyssel, 1990). 156 McCrea, Constant Minds, 667. 157 Montaigne, Essays, III. 1. 599604. 158 Charron, Of Wisdome, II. 5. 288305. See also ibid., III. 4. 42931, 4413. 159 Du Vair, Moral Philosophie of the Stoicks, 41; Reynolds, Treatise of the Passions and Faculties of the Soule of Man, 297. See also Charron, Of Wisdome, I. 18. 747. 160 See, for example, Reynolds, Treatise of the Passions and Faculties of the Soule of Man, 273; and the works discussed in Maurizio Viroli, From Politics to Reason of State (Cambridge, 1992), esp. 123, 159, 245; Quentin Skinner, Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes (Cambridge, 1996), 26793 and passim. 161 See Andrew Cunningham and Ole Peter Grell, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Religion, War, Famine and Death in Reformation Europe (Cambridge, 2000), ch. 3.

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philosophy) an analogous perception of widespread psychological disorder, the triumph of passion over reason on the grandest of scales. This viewpoint was articulated most forcefully by Burton, who decried the lamentable cares, tormentes, calamitys & oppressions brought by the conicts plaguing Europe as the products of irrational passion, a devilish fury designed to satisfy only fallen humanitys lust and spleen, and therefore the unmistakable sign of Mundus furiosus, a mad [and melancholic] world.162 I am not proposing that either the humanist preoccupation with the passions or, by extension, the perceived increase of melancholy in England or Europe generally, are simply reducible to a concern with the political-religious conicts developing after the Reformation. Of course, every era has its share of social, religious and political turmoil, and the attempt to relate this to contemporary forms of mental illness is hardly a distinctively sixteenth- or seventeenth-century phenomenon. Eighteenth-century writers in France and England also discerned a rise in psychic disease but substituted a different range of cultural factors associated with the growth of civilization and commerce.163 However, it is still signicant that for many members of the learned community in the preceding era, discourses on the passions and on melancholy served as outlets for anxieties that were in many cases shaped, and in some cases provoked, by consciousness of these conicts. Similarly, the increased concern with melancholy must be linked but not reduced to contemporary observations of the rise in the incidence of witchcraft and demonic possession,164 and more generally to the commonplace moralistic belief in the licentious loosenes of [the] times.165 This disturbing concatenation of circumstances provided a hospitable cultural environment for perceptions of pervasive
162 Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 415, Democritus Junior to the Reader. See also ibid., i, 3941, 6685. 163 See, for example, Porters discussion in Cheyne, English Malady, pp. ixli; Gidal, Civic Melancholy. 164 For example, in James I and VI, Daemonologie, sig. A2r; Cotta, Triall of Witch-Craft, sig. A3v, 60, 66. Cf. the opposition in Jorden, Briefe Discourse, sig. A3r; and the refutation of the peculiar afiction of the contemporary era (suggestive of the prevalence of such a view) in Lipsius, Two Bookes of Constancie, II. 25. 65. See also Midelfort, History of Madness, 37881. 165 Du Vair, Moral Philosophie of the Stoicks, sig. A5rv.

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melancholy, and as the rapid circulation across the Continent of a ood of pamphlets detailing the bloody and terrifying events of the Thirty Years War suggests, awareness of these circumstances was surely heightened amongst the literate populace by the concurrent expansion of the publishing market.166 Again, the author most sensitive to the mlange of intellectual, political and social factors at work in raising the consciousness of the Continents troubles was Burton, permanently ensconced in his Oxford college but acutely aware of the world outside:
I heare new newes every day, & those ordinary rumors of War, Plagues, Fires, Inundations, Thefts, Murders, Massacres, Meteors, Comets, Spectrums, Prodigies, Apparitions, of townes taken, cities, besieged in France, Germany, Turkey, Persia, Poland, &c. daily musters and preparations, and such like, which these tempestuous times afford, Battels fought, so many men slain.

The ood of news detailing countless incidences of calamity, disease, passion and error across the Continent thereby served to provide Burton with a strong rationale for his scholarly investigation of the disease.167 It may also have contributed to his own self-diagnosed melancholy. Though Burton was obscure on this point, it is an unhappy circumstance later suggested in post-Civil War England by William Mascal, royalist Fellow-Commoner of Clare Hall. In 1661, Mascal looked back tearfully over the past twelve years of sad and bad Transactions, Occurrences and Passages in England, Scotland and Ireland. This was also, he recalled, the period of his own extream Melancholy.168 University College London Angus Gowland

166 For the English case, see Richard Cust, News and Politics in Early SeventeenthCentury England, Past and Present, no. 112 (Aug. 1986); Thomas Cogswell, The Blessed Revolution: English Politics and the Coming of War (Cambridge, 1989). 167 Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, i, 45, Democritus Junior to the Reader. Cf. the microhistorical analysis of seventeenth-century Bologna in David Gentilcore, The Fear of Disease and the Disease of Fear, in Naphy and Roberts (eds.), Fear in Early Modern Society. 168 William Mascal, A New and True Mercurius . . . or, Sober Sadnes, and Plain Dealing, in a Few Plain, Sober and Sad Country Rhimes, Concerning These Sad and Heavy Times (London, 1661).