By Jonathan Flatley
The remarkable declare of this booklet is that living on loss isn't unavoidably miserable. as an alternative, Jonathan Flatley argues, embracing depression could be a highway again to touch with others and will lead humans to productively remap their courting to the realm round them. Flatley demonstrates probably disparate set of modernist writers and thinkers confirmed how aesthetic job may give us the ability to understand and alter our relation to loss.
The texts on the middle of Flatley’s analysis—Henry James’s Turn of the Screw, W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, and Andrei Platonov’s Chevengur—share with Freud an curiosity in figuring out the miserable results of adverse losses and with Walter Benjamin the wish that loss itself may possibly develop into a method of connection and the root for social transformation. For Du Bois, Platonov, and James, the point of interest on depression illuminates either the ancient origins of subjective emotional lifestyles and a heretofore unarticulated group of melancholics. The affective maps they produce make attainable the conversion of a depressive melancholia right into a method to have an interest on the planet.
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Additional resources for Affective Mapping: Melancholia and the Politics of Modernism
37 And it is by way of this shared mood that Baudelaire seeks to reach his audience. Stimmung is a collective, public phenomenon, something inevitably shared. Moods constitute the “way in which we are together” (FCM, 66). The knowledge we gain by way of Stimmung is authentic in the sense that it tells us what is collectively possible at that moment; it tells us Glossary • 23 what our shared situation is and what may be done within this situation. That this is historical, specific or situated knowledge makes it no less useful in a practical sense.
There is thus for Lepenies a dialectical and mutually constituting relationship between melancholy and utopia, one that can be traced through different historical moments, in which utopian thinking is motivated by the desire to find a remedy for melancholia. ”37 In the melancholic state, the world becomes a set of objects with no necessary function or meaning, the object world has been emptied of significance, and in this sense it has also been prepared for allegorical transformation. The melancholic state of mind, then, even as it dwells on ruins and loss, is at the same time liberated to imagine how the world might be transformed, how things might be entirely different from the way they are.
29 The notion of a disease of the black bile did not disappear during this period so much as the sin of acedia existed alongside it as a 36 • Modernism and Melancholia kind of spiritual disease. Occasionally acedia was viewed as something that might motivate you to find your faith and to search for the meaning of God (William Langland’s Piers Plowman might be read along such lines), and thus even here there appears to be the potential for a positively valued flip side to the depressive phenomenon.