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The Secret WoundLove-Melancholy and Early Modern Romance$
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Marion A. Wells

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780804750462

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804750462.001.0001

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From Amor hereos to Love-Melancholy

From Amor hereos to Love-Melancholy

A Medico-Literary History

(p.19) Chapter 1 From Amor hereos to Love-Melancholy
The Secret Wound
Stanford University Press

In De amore, Marsilio Ficino's seventh and final speech, considers the kind of love that is the “opposite” of Socratic love, a form of insanity rather than the “divine madness” praised by Plato as a means to knowledge. Ficino insists that this “insanity” is a form of love while delineating the features of what he also calls “vulgar love.” The opening stages of the seventh speech, which purports to interpret the poem Donna me prega by Guido Cavalcanti, show Ficino's unease with the implications of the medical treatment of love-melancholy. In his speech, Ficino is indebted to Dino del Garbo's commentary but nevertheless transforms Cavalcanti's poem into a vehicle for his own version of Platonic love. In his commentary, del Garbo names this form of love amor ereos (“lovesickness”). This chapter examines the complex medical history that makes possible Ficino's commentary on love-melancholy in De amore, and shows that the medical/philosophical tradition of love-melancholy engages in complex ways with a Platonic view of love.

Keywords:   De amore, Marsilio Ficino, love-melancholy, Platonic love, Donna me prega, Guido Cavalcanti, Dino del Garbo, amor ereos, lovesickness, medical history

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