Noga Arikha is a historian of ideas, and the author of Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours (2007) and of Napoleon and the Rebel: A Story of Brotherhood, Passion, and Power (2011). This is the forum for her recent and archived essays, opinion pieces, reviews, journal articles, and lectures.
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Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours

A New York Times Book Review Editor`s Choice and one of the Washington Post best non-fiction books of 2007.

This is the first book ever to recount the full history in the West of the system of the four humours - blood, phlegm, choler, melancholy - fluids within the organism that, for 2500 years, were deemed to determine health and illness, mood and temperament.

The humoural system theoretically disappeared with the advent of modern medicine, but this book reveals the surprising and fascinating ways in which it has in fact survived to this day.
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Italian edition



Napoleon and the Rebel: A Story of Brotherhood, Passion, and Power

Written with husband Marcello Simonetta and published in the US/UK by Palgrave Macmillan in summer 2011, this is the first biography in English of Lucien, the most talented of the Bonaparte brothers, a man who gave up his political career for the sake of his ideals - and a woman.

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Italian edition

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See the reviews 

Take a humoural personality test

Listen to Melvyn Bragg`s "In our Time" program on the humours on BBC Radio 4

Listen to an interview by Lewis Lapham on Bloomberg Radio

Watch a Talk @ Google

Listen to a panel with the author, Steven Pinker and Melvin Konner

Watch a keynote lecture about "Humoural Bodies and Balanced Minds" 

Read a Q&A about the humours with the author 


NAMS Il Fratello ribelle di Napoleone

Read the review in the New York Review of Books

Read the review in the Times Literary Supplement