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Modernism and melancholia share an intellectual fate: being at once categories, conditions, discourses, modes of expression, and social projects, they feed on their own ambiguity. But modernism and melancholia also share a history: it was in the cultural-historical period we tentatively term "modernism" that a fundamental shift in our understanding of melancholia occurred. What is, then, the relationship between modernism and melancholia? How does it relate to the history of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century? What is the social value of the associated cluster of symbolic rituals that we call mourning? Modernism and Melancholia addresses these questions, as it focuses on the manifestations of melancholia in modernist fiction internationally.
Paying close attention to writings by Andrei Bely, Franz Kafka, and Virginia Woolf, Sanja Bahun identifies in modernist fiction a deliberate use of the symptomatology of melancholia to reinvigorate the genre of the novel and address the complexities of contemporary history. Such an exercise establishes writing as a mourning ritual that self-consciously refuses to "heal" or "cure." To describe this paradoxical writing practice, Bahun proposes the term "countermourning." Reversing-or renewing-the ways in which the conceptual scope of melancholia is utilized in modernist studies, this study positions itself at the crossroads of literary studies and intellectual history, and suggests a continuity between the shifting view of melancholia in global modernism.
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Sanja Bahun is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex. She is a co-editor of a number of books, most recently, of Language, Ideology, and the Human: New Interventions and Myth, Literature, and the Unconscious. She serves on the Executive Committee of the British Comparative Literature Association.
"[Sanja Bahun]...convincingly charts a conceptual reframing of melancholia after 1850 and sees modernism as marking "the first time in the history of representational arts" that the melancholy dynamics "are not - or not only - depicted" but performed (10). It is countermourning, she explains, that functions like a countermonument in obstructively aggravating rather than alleviating mourning: the goal is not to overcome but to perpetuate the loss it memorializes. Countermourning thus serves "as a superior framework" to unpack the deeper logic of many modernist texts (18) as an aesthetic strategy that activates the socially critical potential of melancholia "through a performance which, rather than curing, sustains the melancholic symptom while articulating it" (39)." --Helmut Illbruck, German Studies Review
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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The malaise of melancholia has a long tradition in literature, theory, and the visual arts, from Durer s famous sixteenth-century engraving (Melencolia I) and Milton s Il Penseroso, to Walter Benjamin s Arcades and Lars Von Triers recent film Melancholia. Sanja Bahun s monograph uses the mental condition as a jumping-off point to advance new approaches to modernist novelists from around Russia, the Czech Republic, and Britain. Informed by the writings of Freud, Klein, Judith Butler, and others, Bahun argues that formal explorations by modernist authors are best interpreted as narratives of historical melancholia. Specifically, Modernism and Melancholia shows how a range of novels from 1913 to 1941 perform melancholia in their diction, images, metaphors, syntax, and experimental narrative techniques. Drawing on the narrative theorist, Bakhtin, Bahun applies the term chronotope to link all these formal characteristics to a historical moment bounded by two world wars, the loss of stab. Seller Inventory # BTE9780199977956
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