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Head CasesJulia Kristeva on Philosophy and Art in Depressed Times$
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Elaine Miller

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166829

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166829.001.0001

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Kristeva and Benjamin

Kristeva and Benjamin

Melancholy and the Allegorical Imagination

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 Kristeva and Benjamin
Source:
Head Cases
Author(s):

Elaine P. Miller

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231166829.003.0001

This chapter considers Julia Kristeva's writings on melancholia, bringing together her earlier engagement with individual melancholia in Black Sun as well as her more recent discussions of national depression and the “new maladies of the soul.” Kristeva examines the high incidence of depression and argues in the Black Sun that many intellectuals, writers, and artists have successfully emerged from or at least achieved an ability to live with melancholia—an ailment that otherwise often results in being incapacitated to express symbolically. Furthermore, these artists succeeded in combating melancholia through the very act of melancholic writing or creating. This act of treating a potentially debilitating psychic ailment with a smaller, less lethal dose of the same affliction is called “spiritual inoculation.”

Keywords:   Julia Kristeva, Black Sun, individual melancholia, spiritual inoculation, national depression

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