Melancholia in Men and Women

Jennifer Radden

in The Nature of Melancholy

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195151657
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849253 | DOI:
Melancholia in Men and Women

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This chapter presents Hildegard of Bingen's discussion of melancholy. One of the most talented, eclectic, and interesting personalities of the German Middle Ages, Hildegard lived between 1098 and 1179. She was born the tenth and last child in a noble family at Bingen, which was in the area of Rhenish Hesse, and was as a small girl consecrated to God and entrusted to a woman hermit, Jutta of Spanheim (or Sponheim), who lived at the Benedictine monastery of Disibodenberg. As a young woman Hildegard became a nun, and after Jutta's death she was elected to direct the small convent attached to the Benedictine monastery at Disibodenberg. In addition to her religious duties, Hildegard composed music, wrote poetry, invented a language, wrote extensively on religious and spiritual matters and on matters of medical and scientific interest, and kept up an extensive correspondence with influential ecclesiastical and secular leaders. Between 1151 and 1158 she completed two works of scientific interest, Physica (also called A Study of Nature) and Causae et curae, or Of Causes and Cures (a standard abbreviation for what was originally entitled Liber compositae medicinae (Book of Holistic Healing), from which the remarks on melancholy that follow are taken.

Keywords: Hildegard of Bingen; Disibodenberg; melancholy

Chapter.  3285 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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