Demokrit-lachender Philosoph und sanguinischer Melancholiker: Eine pseudohippokratische Geschichte.
The point is that Burton says "madnesse and melancholy" where the Greek text merely has mania. Rutten shows convincingly that Burton's important interpretive reading and his view of Democritus as a laughing melancholic, developed from Renaissance humanists like Ficino and Melanchthon, had no antecedents in antiquity, the Middle Ages, or even the early Renaissance. While the polar opposition of the weeping Heraclitus and the laughing Democritus is old, Democritus had not been seen as a proto-melancholic, let alone a melancholic of genius. Far from casting any blame on one or the other reader of the text (assigned to the first century B.C.) - which would not only be anachronistic but naive - Rutten takes us through several precise stages of its reception, which one might call an instance of creative misreading - stages that cannot be retraced here. Crucial, of course, is the notion of the sanguine melancholic derived from Galen's humoral system and its association in the Renaissance with the Pseudo-Aristotelian Problem xxx. 1, which ennobled melancholy.
With its copious bibliography, an index of names, and twenty-six illustrations, this study of the reception of an important and previously neglected text deserves its place on any book shelf next to Saturn and Melancholy by Klibansky, Panofsky, and Saxl.
WINFRIED SCHLEINER University of California, Davis
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|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Jun 22, 1997|
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