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Varieties of Melancholy


Made by The School of Life (London, UK)

An insightful and consoling guide to the melancholic state of mind – not depression or anger or bitterness, but a serene, accepting, gentle, and kindly response to the difficulties and occasional misery of being alive.



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Melancholy isn’t depression or anger or bitterness, it’s a serene, accepting, gentle, wise and kindly response to the difficulties and occasional misery of being alive. It steers an ideal mid-way course between despair on the one hand and naive optimism on the other. But melancholy is a well-kept secret. Those who feel the pull of melancholy moods tend to stay quiet about their tastes. We don’t often hear melancholy being celebrated or accorded the respect that it deserves.

Melancholy languishes unexplored in a hyper-competitive, noisy, frantic age. And yet the emotion heartily deserves exploration, it is one that leads to reflection and thoughtfulness. This book carefully collects and interprets a selection of the most universally recognisable melancholy states of mind, and thereby renders us less confused by our precious yet elusive feelings. We hear, among other things, about the melancholy of Sunday evenings and the melancholy of adolescence, the melancholy of high summer and the melancholy of crushes. This book offers a varied portrait of melancholy and it’s range of emotions, leading the reader to both insight and self compassion.

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