Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours

Front Cover
HarperCollins, May 29, 2007 - History - 376 pages
5 Reviews

The humoursóblood, phlegm, black bile, and cholerówere substances thought to circulate within the body and determine a person's health, mood, and character. For example, an excess of black bile was considered a cause of melancholy. The theory of humours remained an inexact but powerful tool for centuries, surviving scientific changes and offering clarity to physicians.

This one-of-a-kind book follows the fate of these variable and invisible fluids from their Western origin in ancient Greece to their present-day versions. It traces their persistence from medical guidebooks of the past to current health fads, from the testimonies of medical doctors to the theories of scientists, physicians, and philosophers. By intertwining the histories of medicine, science, psychology, and philosophy, Noga Arikha revisits and revises how we think about all aspects of our physical, mental, and emotional selves.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - maryoverton - LibraryThing

A history of Western thought seen through the lens of medical theory and practice. What is health? What causes illness? How can illness be cured? Can illness be cured forever - conquering mortality ... Read full review

Review: Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours

User Review  - Ashton - Goodreads

Maybe I'm just a huge nerd but this was really captivating. Really more of a history of philosophy through the lens of the human body, the book delves less into the inner workings of humours and more ... Read full review

About the author (2007)

Noga Arikha was raised in Paris and received her doctorate in history at London's Warburg Institute. She was a fellow at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University, and has taught at Bard College and the Bard Graduate Center. She lives in New York City.

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