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Melancholia, Mourning and the Death Drive: Benjamin and Freud / Tatjana Jukić.

By: Jukić, Tatjana.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticlePublisher: 2017Description: .Other title: Melancholia, Mourning and the Death Drive: Benjamin and Freud [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.03 | mourning, melancholia, the death drive, modernity, Walter Benjamin, Sigmund Freud | mourning, melancholia, the death drive, modernity, Walter Benjamin, Sigmund FreudOnline resources: Click here to access online In: Topologies of Thinking. Conference in Honor of Professor Vladimir Biti’s 65th Birthday and the 50th Anniversary of Literary Theory Section at the Department of Croatian Language and Literature. Skup: Zagreb, Hrvatska, 26-28.05.2017Summary: In Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels, the book whose completion took him nearly a decade, from 1916 to 1925, Walter Benjamin proposes an elaborate pairing off of mourning and melancholia – precisely the pair that Freud researched at the time. While it is true that Benjamin makes no reference to Freud in Ursprung, he does invoke Freud in "Capitalism as Religion", a 1921 fragment which resonates with the tenor of Ursprung ; this is how the two configurations of mourning and melancholia come to constitute an assemblage, and invite to be analyzed as such. In order to address the particulars of this assemblage, I first propose to distinguish mourning against melancholia, the distinction that Benjamin occludes or, at best, leaves implicit in his book. A close reading of Benjamin exposes mourning to be tied to the Reformation, the event which inaugurates political and philosophical modernity by engaging the world as a spectacle of irrevocable loss ; mourning describes the contemplation of the world thus lost, to which death constitutes the horizon of semiosis. Melancholia, on the other hand, couches a prehistory of the semiosis thus invested in modernity, so that the meaning of melancholia derives in fact from a dialectical processing of melancholia by or into mourning. Freud's distinction between mourning and melancholia, anything but occluded or implicit, amplifies Benjamin's arrangement of the pair, and is amplified in turn. What the amplification contributes to Freud is an insight into the structures that mourning, not melancholia, tacitly shares with the death drive, the concept Freud develops in Jenseits des Lustprinzips (1920). In my conclusion I plan to engage that particular position: the juncture where Freud's explication of the death drive resonates with the semiotic format that death defines for Benjamin in Ursprung.
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In Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels, the book whose completion took him nearly a decade, from 1916 to 1925, Walter Benjamin proposes an elaborate pairing off of mourning and melancholia – precisely the pair that Freud researched at the time. While it is true that Benjamin makes no reference to Freud in Ursprung, he does invoke Freud in "Capitalism as Religion", a 1921 fragment which resonates with the tenor of Ursprung ; this is how the two configurations of mourning and melancholia come to constitute an assemblage, and invite to be analyzed as such. In order to address the particulars of this assemblage, I first propose to distinguish mourning against melancholia, the distinction that Benjamin occludes or, at best, leaves implicit in his book. A close reading of Benjamin exposes mourning to be tied to the Reformation, the event which inaugurates political and philosophical modernity by engaging the world as a spectacle of irrevocable loss ; mourning describes the contemplation of the world thus lost, to which death constitutes the horizon of semiosis. Melancholia, on the other hand, couches a prehistory of the semiosis thus invested in modernity, so that the meaning of melancholia derives in fact from a dialectical processing of melancholia by or into mourning. Freud's distinction between mourning and melancholia, anything but occluded or implicit, amplifies Benjamin's arrangement of the pair, and is amplified in turn. What the amplification contributes to Freud is an insight into the structures that mourning, not melancholia, tacitly shares with the death drive, the concept Freud develops in Jenseits des Lustprinzips (1920). In my conclusion I plan to engage that particular position: the juncture where Freud's explication of the death drive resonates with the semiotic format that death defines for Benjamin in Ursprung.

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