The Secret Wound: Love-Melancholy And Early Modern Romance by Marion Wells

By Marion Wells

This e-book bargains a brand new analyzing of early glossy romance within the mild of traditionally modern debts of brain, and in particular the scientific culture of love-melancholy. The ebook argues that the scientific profile of the melancholic lover offers a vital context for figuring out the attribute styles of romance: narrative deferral, epistemological uncertainty, and the never-ending quest for a quasi-phantasmic liked. not like many contemporary experiences of romance, this e-book establishes an in depth old foundation for investigating the mental constitution of romance. Wells starts off by way of tracing the advance of the clinical ailment first identified within the Latin west as amor hereos (lovesickness) from its earliest roots in Greek and Arabic drugs to its translation into the Latin clinical culture. Drawing in this targeted ancient fabric, the ebook considers 3 very important early smooth romances: Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata, and Spenser's The Faerie Queene, concluding with a quick attention of the importance of this literary and scientific legacy for Romanticism. such a lot largely, the interdisciplinary nature of this learn permits the writer to enquire the primary serious challenge of early sleek subjectivity in considerably new ways.

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From Eros to Heroic Love Del Garbo’s term for the disease of love whose vehemence alters the mind—amor ereos—presents considerable philological difficulty. 7 The term consistently denotes a pathological version of love that is distinct from ordinary amor. Johannes Afflacius’s somewhat later (ca. ”9 The conflation of two distinct etymological lines (“love” and “hero”) seems to have provided sufficient opportunity for the coining of the hybrid term amor hereos. Afflacius’s text may have cemented the association between Constantine’s “amor .

The deployment of spoken language—conversation and recitals—as a cure that soothes the body and the mind is evidence of an early awareness of the susceptibility of melancholic diseases to the power of the human voice. I address the implications of this susceptibility in the next chapter, elaborating what I take to be a latent poetics of melancholy in these early medical texts. In the Viaticum, then, excessive love is not yet a form of melancholy, but is causally related to it. The “excessive thoughts” of the former condition pull the sufferer remorselessly toward the latter: Unde si non eriosis succuratur ut cogitatio eorum auferatur et anima levigetur, in passionem melancholica necesse est incidant.

84 The phantasm thus occupies a space between the physical and the immaterial realm, between sense perceptions and reason. As Aristotle himself acknowledges, a cognitive system that rests on the physiological health of the mind is necessarily fragile because imagined objects remain in us and resemble the corresponding sensations, animals perform many actions under their influence; some, that is, brutes, through not having intellects, and others that is, men, because intellect is sometimes obscured by passion or disease or sleep.

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