The Melancholy Charm of Lonely Travelling Places

Nothing quite provokes the peculiar mixture of discomfort and pleasure that characterises the melancholy mood as powerfully as does solitary travel. On our own somewhere on the road, we may feel…

Nostalgia for Religion

The situation is simple enough if one believes. Or doesn’t believe. Where it starts to get complicated is if one firmly doesn’t believe – never has and never will – but…

Parties and Melancholy

The great problem with parties is their implicit understanding of loneliness. From the moment we arrive at most of them, we’ll notice that intense efforts have been made to generate a…

Why Very Beautiful Scenes Can Make Us So Melancholy

As inhabitants of the modern world, the major part of our lives is spent in ugliness: under polluted leaden skies, among choked motorways, warehouses, freight depots and graffitied shuttered shops. These…

On Old Photos of Oneself

To those sensitive to the melancholy nature of experience, looking though an album of old photographs is not an uncomplicated pastime. A few pages in, there we are in a large…

Are Intelligent People More Melancholic?

Early on in the history of melancholy, the Greek philosopher Aristotle was said to have raised a question which it’s hard to answer without sounding self-serving – or smug: ‘Why is…