Dogeared Lit

Your Take on “Nostalgia” — Pain or Pleasure?

Typewritten word "nostalgia" with a typewriter in the background
Written by JoAnn Chateau

There is a natural, soothing nostalgia for the more simple, safe, straight-forward days of yore (i.e., those days before some national foul-up compelled you to follow politics). But, did you know that the word “nostalgia” was first used to name a disease?

…Although we now associate nostalgia with fond memory, the word was coined to refer to an unwanted medical condition. The algia in nostalgia means “pain”…

Johannes Hofer (1669–1752) was a Swiss physician who named the condition, which he identified as a mania tied to homesickness in Swiss mercenary soldiers. The nost- in nostalgia means “homecoming,” and such sentimental yearning for home during field operations was viewed as a disorder of the brain, with symptoms ranging from melancholy and malnutrition to brain fever and hallucinations…

~ Merriam-Webster

READ MORE: Those Were the Days: on ‘Nostalgia’ | Merriam-Webster

The way things are going in the world… personally, I think the original meaning of the word should be revived. A little melancholy, PTSD, or nostalgia anyone?

How do you use the word “nostalgia?” Are you old-school or new-school on its meaning? Do you find that “nostalgia” expresses pleasure, or pain? What does “nostalgia” actually mean to you?

Show us? Feel free to use the word “nostalgia” in a sentence or two in the comments below.

The Wonderful Realm of Words

About the author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She sometimes writes fiction about Chester (the Alpha Bichon) and his friends -- with a dash of humor and dab of Poli-Sci. JoAnn's views and insights are tinted by her past profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and Library and Information Science training. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.


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