Excerpt from "The vanities of philosophy & physick together with directions and medicines easily prepared by any of the least skill, whereby to preserve health, and prolong life, as well in those that live regularly, as others that live irregularly comprizing moreover hypotheses different from those of the schools throughout almost the whole art of physick, and particularly relating to indigestion, and other diseases of the stomach, fevers, consumption, stone, gravel, suppression of urine, apoplexy, palsie, madness, diseases of the eyes, and others : with variety of medicines, and rules whereby to make particular choice out of them : the whole being a work very useful to all, but especially to those that have any relation to the art of physick"

Dublin Core

Title

Excerpt from "The vanities of philosophy & physick together with directions and medicines easily prepared by any of the least skill, whereby to preserve health, and prolong life, as well in those that live regularly, as others that live irregularly comprizing moreover hypotheses different from those of the schools throughout almost the whole art of physick, and particularly relating to indigestion, and other diseases of the stomach, fevers, consumption, stone, gravel, suppression of urine, apoplexy, palsie, madness, diseases of the eyes, and others : with variety of medicines, and rules whereby to make particular choice out of them : the whole being a work very useful to all, but especially to those that have any relation to the art of physick"

Subject

A late 17th-early 18th century depiction of mental illness.

Description

Doctors in the late 18th century had little understanding of mental illness. Much of the contemporary understanding of the mind was grounded in Humorism, which classified people according to their dominant Humor, which would supposedly make itself more evident in an individual's actions than the other humors. In this 1699 text, Harvey asserts that there exist humoric disorders. In particular, he identifies "Melancholia," a condition involving the hyperactive expression of the Melancholic humor. The symptoms of this humoric disorder are evident through Sterne's character Maria in "A Sentimental Journey," who is shown to have "sorrowful and desponding thoughts" and display "languidness" throughout her interaction with Yorick. Harvey would consider Maria's abnormality, noted by Yorick, to be a reflection of her "oppressed animal spirits" that suffer because of her Melancholic hypochondria.

Recognizing the existence of research into heightened melancholy at the dawn of the 18th century, Sterne's depiction of Maria may be considered an early conscious depiction of depression, as Sterne was likely aware of the contemporary concept of "Melancholia" or "Melancholic Hypochondria."

Creator

Gideon Harvey

Date

1699

Relation

"A Sentimental Journey"

Format

Text

Language

English

Text Item Type Metadata

Text

"Oppress the Animal Spirits, dull their motion, and cause such a disorder in their blood, that is productive of such symptoms, which commonly Melancholic Hypochondriacs are troubled with as sighing, heavy, sorrowful and desponding thoughts, palpitations of the Heart, frights, fears, sloathfulness in stirring, [and] languidness"

Citation

Gideon Harvey, “Excerpt from "The vanities of philosophy & physick together with directions and medicines easily prepared by any of the least skill, whereby to preserve health, and prolong life, as well in those that live regularly, as others that live irregularly comprizing moreover hypotheses different from those of the schools throughout almost the whole art of physick, and particularly relating to indigestion, and other diseases of the stomach, fevers, consumption, stone, gravel, suppression of urine, apoplexy, palsie, madness, diseases of the eyes, and others : with variety of medicines, and rules whereby to make particular choice out of them : the whole being a work very useful to all, but especially to those that have any relation to the art of physick",” Enlightenmens, accessed May 25, 2022, http://enlightenmens.lmc.gatech.edu/items/show/878.

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