GER 521

Topics in German Intellectual History: Melancholia and Critique

Spring 2022
10:00am - 12:50pm

Since its early designation as a “saturnine” temperament, melancholia has been regarded as a highly ambivalent phenomenon. Torn between madness and enlightenment, it is the temperament of intellectuals and artists. In this line, melancholy aligns itself with criticism through its distance from society’s ideas of happiness, or its sense of the decay of all things - including man-made orders. In a different light, however, it appears less heroic: as neurotic auto-aggression, or as resigned apathy. The seminar explores the tension between the critique of melancholia and the melancholia of critique.