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Lunch and Learn — A Young, Sad Country: Melancholia in Colonial New England and Its Impact on Early American Literature
December 6, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Connecticut Historical Society Hartford, CT United States
In recent years, early American scholars have embraced the History of Medicine, using interdisciplinary approaches to uncover how colonists understood and treated illness. However, scholarship has primarily focused on epidemics affecting the body, leaving mental health largely unexplored.
This virtual lunchtime talk by Emily Gates is part of a larger project investigating how historical documents by medical practitioners and clergy construct a record of the evolving understanding of melancholia and relate to the literary works from the colonial and Early Republic eras. Therefore, in this presentation Emily will only focus on one type of melancholia, but in doing so, it will provide a thorough illustration of language used by the mentally ill to describe their condition, the understanding of melancholia by religious and medical authorities, and the surprising connection between real cases and the emergence of early American literature, which features predominately melancholic characters.
This virtual program is free. To secure a spot, register on our event page. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link attached, and we will send you a reminder on the day of the program.