Abstract

The steep rise in diagnosed depression in the United States was enabled by the use of simplistic checklists of diagnostic criteria as codified in the authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which underwent a fundamental change in 1980 and has been revised several times since. The DSM criteria for depression disregard the traditional distinction between the sadness incident to human life and habitual, excessive melancholy. However, tradition—in particular the satiric tradition, to which Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy belongs—not only reminds us that sadness has many shapes, but by the same token cautions against the fallacies of codification as such.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 472-485
Launched on MUSE
2013-10-20
Open Access
No
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