By Marion Wells
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Additional info for The Secret Wound: Love-Melancholy And Early Modern Romance
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.