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A Field Guide to Melancholy | [Jacky Bowring]

A Field Guide to Melancholy

A depressive illness or a passing feeling? Mental detachment or a precursor to genius? Melancholy is a critical part of what it is to be human, yet everything from Prozac to self-help psychology books seems intent on removing all signs of sadness from contemporary existence. Complex and contradictory, melancholy’s presence weaves through the histories of both science and art.
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Publisher's Summary

A depressive illness or a passing feeling? Mental detachment or a precursor to genius?

Melancholy is a critical part of what it is to be human, yet everything from Prozac to self-help psychology books seems intent on removing all signs of sadness from contemporary existence. Complex and contradictory, melancholy’s presence weaves through the histories of both science and art. The Field Guide to Melancholy surveys this ambivalent concept and takes a journey through its articulation in a variety of languages, from the Russian toska of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, to kaiho – which is expressed in the dancing of the Finnish tango. Melancholy is found in the historic traditions of death’s presence in paradise, the tears of nature, along with nostalgia, pathos, and melancholy’s presiding god, Saturn. In contemporary society, melancholy becomes a fashion statement in the subculture of the Emo.

By drawing on a range of disciplines from psychology and philosophy to architecture and design, and by examining the work of creative figures as different as Ingmar Bergman, Albrecht Dürer, WG Sebald and Tom Waits, Jacky Bowring provides an original perspective on one of the most elusive, enigmatic and fascinating of human conditions.

©200 Oldcastle Books (P)2011 Prospero Media

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  • David
    Holmfirth, United Kingdom
    6/12/12
    Overall
    ""Customer number four please""

    Written well enough, but after fifteen minutes of waiting for the narrator to vary his tone or try any ONE phrase group with a different intonation I started getting irritated.
    After an hour of the same speech inflection I became positively distracted and after ninety minutes, for the first time ever in 3 years of Audiobook subscribing, I gave up.
    This reader has all the soul and imagination of the automatic announcer at the post office, endlessly intoning "Customer number three, please" over and over... I've heard Sat-Nav with more spark.
    At no point did the narrator give any indication that he was knowledgeable, or even interested in his subject material. Which is a pity, because it was actually a well-researched book.
    I'll order it in print, and forget this sorry experience ever happened.
    If companies are going to produce audio for Audible, they have a responsibility to ensure the material is properly directed and checked for quality. If a professional director has been anywhere near this, I would suggest that he / she has a good think about why he / she turns up for work.
    I did try the audio clip, but (silly me) I didn't imagine just how mind-crushing that whining voice would be after any length of time.
    Lesson learned.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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