The Melancholy of Henry More

David Thorley


This article treats Henry More’s philosophical approach to melancholy and his personal experience of the disease. Koen Vermeir argues that, in approaching the imagination philosophically, More was performing a 'balancing act' between addressing the subject as a medium between soul and body, and regarding it as a non-corporeal vehicle of reason and the spirit. 'In his life', Vermeir adds, 'More was also performing a balancing act': both an opponent of and subject to enthusiasm. In this article, I give closer scrutiny to that balancing act, charting the points of distinction and overlap between More’s philosophy of and encounters with melancholy. In the search for relief for his symptoms, I argue, More deployed two significant (and related) techniques: practicing philosophy and engaging in epistolary correspondence. 


emotion; melancholy; enthusiasm; More; letters

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