Dear Quote Investigator: Melancholy is a complicated and also sometimes puzzling emovement. The compowebsite nature of the sensation is expressed by the following:

Melancholia is the joy of feeling sad.Melancholy is the happiness of being sad.Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad.

You are watching: Melancholy is the happiness of being sad

I think that this statement was crafted by a significant writer, however I cannot remember his or her name. Would you please help?

Quote Investigator: In 1866 the significant French literary figure Victor Hugo published “Les Travailleurs de la Mer” which was later on released under the English title “The Toilers of the Sea”. This job-related had the saying under examination. Here is an excerpt in French adhered to by a translation from 1888. Boldchallenge has actually been included to excerpts: 1 2

Le désespoir a des degrés remontants. De l’accablement on monte à l’abattement, de l’abattement à l’affliction, de l’affliction à la mélancolie. La mélancolie est un crépuscule. La souffrance s’y fond dans une sombre joie.La mélancolie, c’est le bonheur d’être triste.

Despair has ascending degrees. From prostration one mounts to despondency, from despondency to affliction, from affliction to melancholy. Melancholy is a twilight. Suffering melts into it in sombre joy.Melancholy is the happiness of being sad.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

H. L. Mencken consisted of a set of quotations around melancholy in his exceptional referral “A New Thesaurus of Quotations on Historical Principles from Old and Modern Sources”. Below are three entries. Mencken provided a various translation for Hugo’s statement: 3

Aristotle shelp melancholy men of all others are the many witty.ROBERT BURTON: The Anatomy of Melancholy, I, 1621

He is a fool that is not melancholy as soon as a day.ENGLISH PROVERB, traced by Smith to 1678

Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad.VICTOR HUGO: The Toilers of the Sea, III, 1866

A 2002 translation by James Hogarth employed a different phrasing for the saying: 4

Despair has actually procedures leading upward. From total depression we rise to despondency, from despondency to affliction, from affliction to melancholy. Melancholy is a twilight state in which suffering transmutes into a somber joy.Melancholy is the enjoyment of being sad.

In conclusion, Victor Hugo have to be attributed with this statement which was originally created in French by 1866. A few various translations into English have actually been developed.

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Image Notes: Study of Melancholy Girl by Joseph Wright circa 1775 from the British Museum, London. Image from wikiart.org has actually been cropped. Portrait of Victor Hugo by Étienne Carjat circa 1876 using Wikimedia Commons. Image has been cropped.

(Great many thanks to Sonia Mansour Robaey and also Earl Appleby whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and percreate this exploration.)

Posted on January 29, 2015Author quoteresearchCategories H.L. Mencken, Victor HugoTags H.L. Mencken, Victor Hugo

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