Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours (Paperback)

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Physicians in ancient Greece believed four humours flowed within the human body--blood, phlegm, black bile, and choler--determining a person's health, mood, and character. Not until the seventeenth century would a more complex view of the anatomy begin to emerge. But by then humoural theory had already become deeply ingrained in Western language and thought--and endures to this day in surprising ways.

Interweaving the histories of medicine, science, psychology, and philosophy, Passions and Tempers explores the uncanny persistence of these variable, invisible fluids. It will change how we view our physical, mental, and emotional selves.

Praise For…

“...this persistent [humoural] theory...has much to teach us...”
-New York Sun

“Passions and Tempers may excite the passions and a good work of intellectual history should.”
-Washington Post

“...a stimulating work that shows the Western mind nobly grappling with the inscrutable nature of the human body.”
-Publishers Weekly

“To Arikha’s immense credit, she provides a thoroughly documented account...”
-New York Times Book Review

“...a fine job...”
-New York Times Book Review

“Fascinating…[Passions and Tempers] challenges us to consider the value, and the meaning, of a discredited theory.”

Product Details
ISBN: 9780060731175
ISBN-10: 0060731176
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: July 22nd, 2008
Pages: 376
Language: English