Tag: Suicide

A Cure for Melancholy: Victorian Medical Advice on Treating Depression

“Melancholy is a low kind of delirium, with a fever; usually attended with fear, heaviness, and sorrow, without any apparent occasion.”
Beach’s Family Physician, 1861.

Melancholy by Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens, 1876.

What we recognize today as depression was, in the Victorian era, popularly known as melancholia or melancholy.  Like depression, melancholy ranged in seriousness from mild, temporary bouts of sadness or “low spirits” to longer, more extreme episodes, characterized by insomnia, lack of appetite, and suicidal thoughts.  While symptoms of melancholy were usually easy to recognize, medical opinions often differed on what it was that caused the condition.  As a result, treatment plans for the melancholic patient varied widely.  Below, we look at a few Victorian era medical opinions on the symptoms, causes, and treatments of melancholy.[…]Continue Reading

From Duels to Suicide: The Perils of Consorting with Cyprians

Lady Hamilton as Bacchante by George Romney, 1784.
Lady Hamilton as Bacchante by George Romney, 1784.

Often referred to as “Fair Cyprians” or “Dashing Cyprians” by Regency era newspapers, a Cyprian was, quite simply, a high-class prostitute.  The truly celebrated amongst them could take their pick of protectors – gentlemen of means who could provide the discerning Cyprian with a fine house, expensive jewels, and a carriage of her own.  Once established with such a gentleman, a Cyprian might be kept by him for a number of years.  But what happened when a Cyprian grew old or lost her beauty and allure?  And what happened to those gentlemen foolish enough to lose their hearts to these high-class prostitutes?  Or the gentlemen who ran out of money with which to afford them?  Below are a few 19th century reports which illustrate the hazards of being a Cyprian – and the perils of consorting with them.[…]Continue Reading

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