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The Nature of MelancholyFrom Aristotle to Kristeva$
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Jennifer Radden

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195151657

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195151657.001.0001

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Green Sickness and Wertherism

Green Sickness and Wertherism


(p.235) 22 Green Sickness and Wertherism
The Nature of Melancholy

Jennifer Radden

Oxford University Press

Samuel Smiles, born in 1812, was an influential figure in the 19th-century “self-help” movement. His book, Self-help: With Illustrations of Character, Conduct and Perseverance (1859) grew out of a series of lectures, designed for self-improvement, which he gave to young men as editor of the Leeds Times newspaper. This chapter presents passages from an 1862 American edition of that work. His theme was that diligent self-culture, self-control, and self-discipline held the key to human fulfillment; his motto: “It all depends on me.” Smiles's emphasis on and disgust with the unmanly, unmasculine quality of the Romantic melancholy popularized by Goethe and Byron may account in significant part for the curious gender reversal by which, toward the end of the 19th century melancholy, melancholia, and related responses came to be associated with women and the feminine.

Keywords:   Samuel Smiles, self-help, melancholy, melancholia, Goethe

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