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The Faces of Depression in Literature

Edited By Josefa Ros Velasco

The Faces of Depression in Literature brings together some of the best-known specialists and scholars on the topic of depression in literature worldwide to offer a multidisciplinary approach concerning the philosophical, theological, and literary narratives of depression over time and their approximations to the current, clinical understanding of Major Depressive Disorder. The authors clarify the background of depression by paying attention to its representation through these narratives and revalue them as a means of acquiring knowledge in an interdisciplinary way. This pioneering initiative fills the knowledge gap that still exists concerning the nature of depression from a multidisciplinary perspective that takes into account some cross-cutting narratives. The authors give voice to the forgotten manifestations of depression found in literature, philosophy, theology, and even early medical works. The Faces of Depression in Literature is for graduates and researchers on depression from a cultural and social point of view, including philosophers, historians, cultural theorists, literature and art experts and enthusiasts, as well as artists and writers themselves, specialists in mental health and cognitive psychology, and anyone interested in a better understanding of the human condition.
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13 Metaphors of Depression in American Short Fiction (Ioana Unk (Independent Scholar, California))


13 Metaphors of Depression in American Short Fiction

Ioana Unk

Independent Scholar, California

Depression and Metaphor

Although the diagnostic manuals for mental illnesses provide numerous definitions and descriptions of symptoms, depression remains a personal experience, that is most likely to be depicted by depressed persons with less technical wording.

A sequence of metaphors—vines, trees, cliffs, etc.—is the only way to talk about the experience. It’s not an easy diagnostics because it depends on metaphors, and the metaphors one patient chooses are different from those selected by another patient. (Solomon 2015, 29)

We contend that an investigation of the use of conventional metaphors, as well as of the occurrence of new imaginative and creative metaphors, establishes a new understanding of depression, and, also, raises questions regarding a possible shift in perspective.

While the connection between emotions and meanings may not always be in sync, a constant reevaluation of the linguistic tools that we use to express how we feel may lead to new expressions, that is, new metaphors. “Old stories may in turn come to be understood in new ways and new metaphor themes may emerge to represent this different way of seeing and experiencing an aspect of self.” (Angus and Korman 2002, 154)

The Conceptual Metaphor Theory devised by Lakoff and Johnson (1980) revolutionized the classic understanding of metaphor, as defined by the comparison theory, and extended its usage from...

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