Monthly Archives: August 2013

Titian’s Sisyphus: An Eternity of Doubt

I have a fondness for words with repeated soft aspirants that make them satisfying to pronounce (favourite is ‘aspidistra’).  ‘Titian’s Sisyphus’ is not only wonderful to say, it’s incredibly wonderful to look at, which, as an art historian, makes me … Continue reading

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An Etymology of Melancholy: Durer, Hugo, Sontag

melancholy (n.) c.1300, “condition characterized by sullenness, gloom, irritability,” from Old French melancolie “black bile, ill disposition, anger, annoyance” (13c.), from Late Latin melancholia, from Greek melankholia “sadness,” literally (excess of) “black bile,” from melas(genitive melanos) “black” (see melanin) + khole “bile” (see Chloe). Medieval physiology attributed depression to excess of “black … Continue reading

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An Etymology of Melancholy: Durer, Hugo, Sontag

melancholy (n.) c.1300, “condition characterized by sullenness, gloom, irritability,” from Old French melancolie “black bile, ill disposition, anger, annoyance” (13c.), from Late Latin melancholia, from Greek melankholia “sadness,” literally (excess of) “black bile,” from melas(genitive melanos) “black” (see melanin) + khole “bile” (see Chloe). Medieval physiology attributed depression to excess of “black … Continue reading

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