18th-Century Blues: Assembling the Melancholy Mind

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


'Before Depression' is a three-year research project by the English departments of the Universities of Northumbria and Sunderland and funded by the Leverhulme Trust. 'Before Depression' is an interdisciplinary project designed to address the question: 'what was depression like before it was depression?' It is exploring its development and persistence within British culture of the long eighteenth century. The Enlightenment period saw influential and lasting reorientations in literary, scientific, medical and philosophical discourse in Britain and on the continent. It affords, in the years after 1660, consideration of cultural and religious confrontations between Restoration court values and Nonconformists and, by 1800, the beginnings of literary and philosophical Romanticism with its new promotion of abnormal mental states. The focus of the project will be primarily literary, though 'literature' will be defined to include poetry, fiction and drama, and also letters, journals, pamphlets and biographical and autobiographical work. Methodologically the analysis of texts is comparative and contextual. Literary writing allows particularly revealing insight into historical cultures and mentalities, more so when considered alongside material from adjacent fields, specifically, in this case, the history of medicine and science, social and cultural history and art history. The project is undertaking a comparative analysis of representations of a state of mind that permeated a culture.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
EventBefore Depression 1660 - 1800 - Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle upon Tyne
Duration: 19 Jun 200821 Jun 2008


OtherBefore Depression 1660 - 1800

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