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The Melancholy AssemblageAffect and Epistemology in the English Renaissance$
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Drew Daniel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251278

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251278.001.0001

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Rhapsodies of Rags

Rhapsodies of Rags

(p.155) 5. Rhapsodies of Rags
The Melancholy Assemblage

Drew Daniel

Fordham University Press

A book may be more referred to than read, often started but rarely finished. Too shapeless in its form and unclear in its intentions to hold a casual reader, this book becomes the preserve of a small community of bickering experts. Two books which fit this narrative are Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy and Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project. Whereas the former focuses on the dwindlingly fashionable humoral illness of melancholy, the latter tackles the first Parisian glass-ceilinged shopping arcades. And yet both texts function as creative and personal assemblages expressive of what might be called “melancholy structure.” This chapter examines the notion of melancholy in The Anatomy of Melancholy and Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project. It looks at melancholy assemblage and Burton’s explanation on the “inward causes” of melancholy as well as Benjamin’s philosophical view on the “mosaic” of melancholy.

Keywords:   melancholy, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, melancholy structure, melancholy assemblage

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