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  • © 2021

From Melancholia to Depression

Disordered Mood in Nineteenth-Century Psychiatry

Palgrave Macmillan

Authors:

  • Offers much-needed historical perspectives on the emergence of modern depressive illness

  • Explores how melancholia was transformed in the nineteenth century from melancholy ‘madness’ to a modern biomedical mood disorder

  • Draws on a range of sources, including asylum records, medical textbooks and articles, statistical reports, and directives from the British Lunacy Commission

  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: Mental Health in Historical Perspective (MHHP)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xv
  2. Introduction: Disordered Mood as Historical Problem

    • Åsa Jansson
    Pages 1-33Open Access
  3. The Scientific Foundation of Disordered Mood

    • Åsa Jansson
    Pages 35-61Open Access
  4. Melancholia and the New Biological Psychiatry

    • Åsa Jansson
    Pages 89-122Open Access
  5. Diagnosing Melancholia in the Victorian Asylum

    • Åsa Jansson
    Pages 173-207Open Access
  6. Back Matter

    Pages 229-234

About this book

This open access book maps a crucial but neglected chapter in the history of psychiatry: how was melancholia transformed in the nineteenth century from traditional melancholy madness into a modern biomedical mood disorder, paving the way for the emergence of clinical depression as a psychiatric illness in the twentieth century? At a time when the prevalence of mood disorders and antidepressant consumption are at an all-time high, the need for a comprehensive historical understanding of how modern depressive illness came into being has never been more urgent. This book addresses a significant gap in existing scholarly literature on melancholia, depression, and mood disorders by offering a contextualised and critical perspective on the history of melancholia in the first decades of psychiatry, from the 1830s until the turn of the twentieth century. 

Keywords

  • Mood disorders
  • Psychiatric illness
  • Physiology
  • Psychology
  • Statistical and diagnostic practices
  • Asylum records
  • Insanity
  • Madness
  • Mental pain
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Psychological distress
  • Open Access

Reviews

“A thought-provoking read, the book draws on a range of sources, including medical and psychiatric textbooks, lunacy commission records, asylum records, and journal articles, to demonstrate how melancholia was made into a modern biomedical mood disorder. … Jansson's work provides a timely, fresh, and important contribution to the history of psychiatry and mental health more broadly.” (Lynsey Cullen, H-Net Reviews, h-net.org, July, 2021)

“At a time when the prevalence of mood disorders and antidepressant consumption are at an all-time high, the need for a comprehensive historical understanding of how modern depressive illness came into being has never been more urgent. This book addresses a significant gap in existing scholarly literature on melancholia, depression, and mood disorders by offering a contextualised and critical perspective on the history of melancholia in the first decades of psychiatry, from the 1830s until the turn of the twentieth century.” (Filippo M. Sposini, H-Madness, historypsychiatry.com, March 31, 2021)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham University, Durham, UK

    Åsa Jansson

About the author

Åsa Jansson is a Junior Research Fellow at the Institute for Medical Humanities at Durham University, UK. She is a historian of psychiatry, with an interdisciplinary background encompassing intellectual history, the history of medicine and political science. She has published in leading journals in her field and beyond, and has communicated her research in other forums, including public exhibitions and festivals.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: From Melancholia to Depression

  • Book Subtitle: Disordered Mood in Nineteenth-Century Psychiatry

  • Authors: Åsa Jansson

  • Series Title: Mental Health in Historical Perspective

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54802-5

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: History, History (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2021

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-54801-8

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-54804-9

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-54802-5

  • Series ISSN: 2634-6036

  • Series E-ISSN: 2634-6044

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XV, 234

  • Topics: Social History, History of Medicine, Psychiatry, History of Britain and Ireland

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)