Seminar 23.02.2023
Modes of Melancholy
3:30pm| online Translating spleen: the English malady and its circulation in 18th century Europe, by Andrés Gattinoni; Palinode of depression mechanisms: a medical point of view, by Manuel Silvério Marques


Traducir el spleen: el mal inglés y su circulación en Europa en el siglo XVIII

Since the end of the seventeenth century, many British and some continental observers agreed that melancholy, and more specifically its hypochondriac variety, was an "English malady". This idea combined national stereotypes, geographic and climatic peculiarities of Great Britain, theories about illness, but also judgments and representations about the culture and recent history of Albion. Ultimately, the idea that melancholy was an English malady implied that it was an experience that was not entirely available to foreigners. Of the variety of terms that proliferated at that time to designate hypochondriac melancholy, one expressed this "exceptional" character particularly well: spleen. Several contemporary testimonies accounted for the difficulty of translating that word into other languages. It was an untranslatable term that, in the second half of the eighteenth century, the French and Spanish would import as an Anglicism. From this point of view, spleen can be compared to other untranslatable affective experiences such as saudade, morriña, Weltschmerz, or toska.

In this presentation, I will present some of the results of my doctoral thesis on the English malady and the first steps of my postdoctoral research on the circulation, appropriation, and translation of English concepts linked to melancholy.

Andrés Gattinoni


Andrés Gattinoni (Buenos Aires, 1986). PhD in History from the University of Buenos Aires and Master in Sociology of Culture and Cultural Analysis from the National University of San Martín (Argentina). He currently works as a postdoctoral fellow of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research and as a professor in the Degree in History at the School of Humanities of the National University of San Martín. His doctoral thesis addressed the relationship between melancholy and modernity in Great Britain between 1660 and 1750 from a perspective that combined cultural history, conceptual history, and the history of emotions. He has published articles on these topics in various scientific journals and is currently finishing the manuscript of his first book. He is also the general editor of Rey Desnudo. Revista de Libros, a biannual academic publication dedicated to critical reviews of history books.


Palinody of the mechanisms of depression: a medical point of view


Inspired by texts by Fernando Gil about the self and expressive intelligibility - semiotics and not causality - and impressed by Minkowski's Treatise on Psychopathology and Kristeva's Soleil Noir, I problematize symptoms (suffering, moral pain, loss, anhedonia, etc.) and two of the relevant mechanisms for the medical approach to depression, endophenotypic and syndromic. I briefly discuss aspects of explanation in medicine, focusing especially on the imaginary and consciousness, and conclude with the "point of the situation" regarding the "synthesis".


Manuel Silvério Marques


Retired Hematologist doctor who worked at IPO. PhD in Philosophy of Medicine (FML) (2002), Thesis "Medicine as a Science of the Individual" (supervised by Fernando Gil and João Lobo Antunes). Member of the editorial board of Análise, the Office of Philosophy of Knowledge (1985-2006) and the National Council of Ethics for the Life Sciences (1998-2002). Invited researcher (since 2005) at the Center for Philosophy of the University of Lisbon. He taught at UBI and FMUL. Collaborated in the institutionalization of Medical Humanities in Portugal (CEAUL, FLUL) (2012-2016). Directed several research projects, including (2012-2014) "José Pinto de Azeredo (1764-1810). Texts and Contexts" - 4 volumes published.


4:30 pm - Debate


Organizing Committee

Adelino Cardoso  (CHAM)
Teresa Lousa  (CHAM)