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The gendering of melancholia : feminism, psychoanalysis, and the symbolics of loss in Renaissance literature

Author: Juliana Schiesari
Publisher: Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1992.
Series: Cornell paperbacks
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
The pantheon of renowned melancholics--from Shakespeare's Hamlet to Walter Benjamin--includes no women, an absence that in Juliana Schiesari's view pints less to a dearth of unhappy women in patriarchal culture than to the lack of significance accorded to women's grief. Through penetrating readings of texts from Aristotle to Kristeva, she illuminates the complex history of the symbolics of loss in Renaissance  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Juliana Schiesari
ISBN: 0801426863 9780801426865 0801499712 9780801499715
OCLC Number: 24669247
Description: xii, 278 pages ; 24 cm.
Contents: 1. The Gendering of Freud's "Mourning and Melancholia" Freud's Essay and the Narcissism of Excessive Grief. The Question of Female Melancholia (Irigaray, Silverman, Kristeva) --
2. Black Humor? Gender and Genius in the Melancholic Tradition. Aristotle and the Humor of Outstanding Men. Ficino's Philosophical Celebration of Loss. Diabolical Melancholia in Hildegard of Bingen --
3. Appropriating the Work of Women's Mourning: From Petrarch to Gaspara Stampa, and from Isabella di Morra to Tasso --
4. Soverchia maninconia: Tasso's Hydra --
5. Mourning the Phallus? (Hamlet, Burton, Lacan, and "Others").
Series Title: Cornell paperbacks
Responsibility: Juliana Schiesari.

Abstract:

The pantheon of renowned melancholics--from Shakespeare's Hamlet to Walter Benjamin--includes no women, an absence that in Juliana Schiesari's view pints less to a dearth of unhappy women in patriarchal culture than to the lack of significance accorded to women's grief. Through penetrating readings of texts from Aristotle to Kristeva, she illuminates the complex history of the symbolics of loss in Renaissance literature. Schiesari first considers the development of the concept of melancholia in the writings of Freud. Perceiving a gendered bias in his germinal essay "Mourning and Melancholia," she surveys recent responses by such theorists as Luce Irigaray, Kaja Silverman, and Julia Kristeva. After discussing texts from the tradition of humoral medicine, Schiesari provides fresh interpretations of works by Aristotle, Hildegard of Bingen, and Ficino. She then explores the significance of sorrow and loss in women's poetry of the Italian Renaissance, in key works by Tasso and Shakespeare, and in the writings of such theorists as Walter Benjamin and Jacques Lacan. according to Schiesari, male melancholia was celebrated during the Renaissance as a sign of inspired genius, at the same time a public rituals of mourning led by women were suppressed. While the grief of women is even today labeled "depression," she suggests that the disparaged practice of women's mourning may serve as the very groundwork for an alternative symbolism of female loss. The Gendering of Melancholia will be stimulating reading for scholars and students in the fields of feminist criticism, psychoanalytic and literary theory, and Renaissance studies, and for anyone interested in Western cultural history. -- Back cover.

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