Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Pathology of Melancholy

Thomas Feiner and Anywhen, Dinah and the Beautiful Blue

Depression and death are black holes for melancholy. Their gravitational force is such that they claim melancholy almost wholly, leaving only small particles available for the remainder of the pathology of the self. For the un-nameable malaise of a Friday afternoon in summer, contemplating the passage of another of one's years, another circling, an ascent, a descent, the perfect annual spiral. And there are particles available for the particular state of mind brought on by the return from voyages, where the space of domestic life seems so poignant, a distant friend. And, too, for that which is most elegant in Latin, Post coitum omne animal triste ... if not la petite mort, then la petite post mortum.

The Little Death and the Beautiful Blue claim particles of melancholy, along with the sound one hears across the valley, a cliché perhaps that it is a church bell, and even one shrouded in the mist of a summer's morn, yet it causes a pathological affect in the small channel that connects the inner ear into the brain's most contemplative chambers, flooding them momentarily in the fugitive fluids which are the carriers for the fleeting pain of poignancy. The Physician's Guide to the Pathology of Melancholy is a slim, yet dense volume, largely considered an addendum to the weighty tomes on Death and Depression. It is seen by some as a hymnal, a litany of lyrical effects. And by others a wish list, an itinerary, a gazetteer, a route through a certain map of the human heart and mind.

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