Educator and writer. Italian Academy for Advanced Studies, Columbia University, New York, NY, former fellow; Institut Jean-Nicod, Paris, France, visiting fellow. Taught at Bard College and the Bard Graduate Center in New York, NY.
Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours, Ecco (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including the Times Literary Supplement and the Economist.
Educator and writer Noga Arikha is a scholar of history, paying particular interest to the histories of science, philosophy, psychology, and medicine. She has taught humanities at Bard College and was a visiting fellow at the Institut Jean-Nicod in Paris, France.
In 2007, Arikha published her first book, Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours. In this work, she examines the history of the four "humors," fluids in the body that, for 2,500 years, were believed to be related to health, personality, and body type. Tracing this notion from the ancient Greeks, Arikha demonstrates how modern theories and ideas are based on these ancient hypotheses. A proper balance of the humors—blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile—was thought necessary for good health and physical and mental strength. The author suggests contemporary equivalents such as hormones and enzymes are considered to provide similar balance. Overall, critics lauded Arikha's efforts in Passions and Tempers, citing the wealth of history and research it contains. The book is a "pleasing historical survey," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Others found that the author successfully synthesizes her research with thoughtful analysis and highly attuned insight. Readers "will learn a lot from its pages," noted Michael Dirda in a review for the Washington Post.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2007, review of Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours.
New York Sun, June 20, 2007, Eric Ormsby, review of Passions and Tempers.
New York Times Book Review, July 8, 2007, Sherwin B. Nuland, review of Passions and Tempers, p. 12.
Publishers Weekly, April 9, 2007, review of Passions and Tempers, p. 44.
Times Higher Education Supplement, September 21, 2007, "Phlegm and Nonsense," p. 22.
Times Literary Supplement, August 17, 2007, "Every Man in His Humour," p. 25.
Washington Post, June 14, 2007, Michael Dirda, review of Passions and Tempers.
Weekly Standard, July 30, 2007, Lawrence Klepp, review of Passions and Tempers.
Bard College Web site,http://www.bard.edu/ (January 10, 2008), biography of Noga Arikha.
Electronic & Computer Science, University of Southampton Web site,http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/ (January 10, 2008), biography of Noga Arikha.
Interdisciplines,http://www.interdisciplines.org/ (January 10, 2008), biography of Noga Arikha.
Noga Arikha Home Page,http://www.nogaarikha.com (January 10, 2008).
Passions and Tempers Web site,http://www.passionsandtempers.com (January 10, 2008), interview with Noga Arikha.