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Friday, July 29, 2005

FT.com / Arts & Weekend - An air of dignified resignation

"An air of dignified resignation
Published: July 29 2005 15:46 | Last updated: July 29 2005 15:46

Huzun, the Turkish word for melancholy, has an Arabic root; when it appears in the Koran (as huzun in two verses and hazen in three others) it means much the same thing as the contemporary Turkish word. The prophet Muhammad referred to the year in which he lost both his wife Hatice and his uncle, Ebu Talip, as Senettul huzun, the year of melancholy; this confirms that the word is meant to convey a feeling of deep spiritual loss. Huzun stems from the same “black passion” as melancholy, whose etymology refers to a basis first conceived in Aristotle’s day (melaina kole-black bile) and gives us the colouration normally associated with this feeling and the all-occluding pain it implies."

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