Monday, 11 June 2012


From Melancholia to Prozac: a history of depression.
By Clark Lawlor. OUP 14.99 From Guardian review by Jenny Diski:

‘It is most valuable as a history of thought about the varying degrees of sadness and despair that have been consistently experienced from antiquity to the present day. Timothie Bright’s 1613 description of the effect of excessive black bile ‘which shut up the hart as it were in a dungeon of obscurity, causeth manie fearfull fancies.... whereby we are in heaviness, sit comfort- less, feare distrust, doubt despaire, and lament , where no cause requireth it’ as good a picture of depression as I know it as any I’ve heard or read.’
Skating over the author’s reckoning that depression is nothing but a ‘chemical imbalance of the neurochemistry of the brain’, it sounds like the historical accounts are fascinating, and he is robustly critical of the DSM/drug companies grip over the
‘treatment’, Definitely worth a look.