Saturn & Melancholy

Raymond KLIBANSKY, Erwin PANOSKY and Fritz SAXL. Saturn and Melancholy: Studies in the History of Natural Philosophy, Religion, and Art, New Edition by Philippe Despoix and Georges Leroux, with a preface by Bill Sherman, Montreal & Kingston, McGill-Queen’s University Press, November 2019, 632 p.

This new augmented edition makes the original English
text available for the first time in decades. Saturn and
Melancholy offers an unparalleled inquiry into the origin
and development of the philosophical and medical
theories on which the ancient conception of the
temperaments was based and discusses their connections
to astrological and religious ideas. It also traces
representations of melancholy in literature and the arts
up to the sixteenth century, culminating in a landmark
analysis of Dürer’s most famous engraving, Melencolia I. This edition features Raymond Klibansky’s additional
introduction and bibliographical amendments for the
German edition, as well as translations of source material
and 155 original illustrations. An essay on the complex
publication history of this pathbreaking project – which
almost did not see the light of day – covers more than
eighty years, including its more recent heritage.

Saturn and Melancholy remains an iconic text in art
history, intellectual history, and the study of culture,
despite being long out of print in English. Rooted in the
tradition established by Aby Warburg and the Warburg
Library, this book has deeply influenced understandings
of the interrelations between the humanities disciplines
since its first publication in English in 1964.