Academic journal article Romanian Journal of Artistic Creativity

Robert DeMaria, Jr., British Literature 1640-1789

Academic journal article Romanian Journal of Artistic Creativity

Robert DeMaria, Jr., British Literature 1640-1789

Article excerpt

Robert DeMaria, Jr., British Literature 1640-1789

(Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell. 2018)

Of the 59 terms to be found in the volume, enthusiasm, genius, imagination, judgment, melancholy, sensibility, spleen will interest a psychiatrist, with enthusiasm, melancholy and spleen coming first.

Enthusiasm will strike the eye because of its possible references to mania--which were there indeed, "when a person engaged in some office of religion; and hearing the sound of drums, trumpets, cymbals etc. becomes alienated or transported out of himself, and sees things unseen to others." In his Cyclopedia, Ephraim Chambers went on to say that "what is here called enthusiasm, is more significantly called by another term, mania, madness occasioned by the sound of brazen instruments." However, by the end of the eighteenth century, the term came to its "current, relatively quiet state."

Melancholy, with its "traditional" definition (getting back to furor, as in furor poeticus) by Shakespeare's Jacques in As You Like It ("I have neither the scholar's melancholy, which is emulation, nor the musician's, which is fantastical; nor the courtier's, which is proud; nor the soldier's, which is ambitious; nor the lawyer's, which is politic; nor the lady's, which is nice; nor the lover's, which is all these; but it is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed, the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my rumination often wraps me in a most humorous sadness"), Robert Burton's most extensive description in his Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) and Dr. …

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