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.
About the Author
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.
Praise for Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours…
“...this persistent [humoural] theory...has much to teach us...” -New York Sun
“Passions and Tempers may excite the passions and tempers...as 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.” -Salon.com