Affective Mapping: Melancholia and the Politics of Modernism by Jonathan Flatley

By Jonathan Flatley

The striking declare of this publication is that living on loss isn't really unavoidably miserable. in its place, 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 task may give us the ability to realize 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 realizing the miserable results of inauspicious losses and with Walter Benjamin the desire that loss itself may well develop into a method of connection and the foundation for social transformation. For Du Bois, Platonov, and James, the focal point on depression illuminates either the old origins of subjective emotional existence and a heretofore unarticulated neighborhood of melancholics. The affective maps they produce make attainable the conversion of a depressive melancholia right into a strategy to have an interest on the earth.

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16 The utopian element of the project of modernity has played an important role in most of the transformative political projects of the twentieth century from the Bolshevik Revolution to the civil rights movement in the United States. More recently, this element has supplied the rhetoric for both the massive state-supported efforts toward the globalization of capital (sometimes simply called “modernization”) as well as the organized opposition to globalization as it has so far taken shape (by way of appeals to universal human rights, to the right to self-determination, or to rational discussion of the global common good as opposed to the “free market”).

Therefore, in his effort to make sense of melancholia, Freud places a great deal of weight on the one unique feature of melancholia, its self-critical, self-deriding aspect. “The distinguishing mental features of melancholia,” Freud writes, “are a profoundly painful dejection, cessation of interest in the outside world, loss of the capacity to love, inhibition of all activity, and a lowering of the self-regarding feelings to a degree that finds utterance in self-reproaches and self-revilings, and culminates in a delusional expectation of punishment” (MM, 244).

Structure of Feeling Insofar as the term “structure of feeling” describes the ways social forces shape or structure our affective lives, it is in some ways similar to Stimmung. Its emphases, however, are different, and thus, so are its uses. 40 Glossary • 25 Williams conceived of the term, however, in a very specific sense. He initially describes the term as useful not only because it enables us to talk about the sociality of affect, but because it enables us to describe those structures that mediate between the social and the personal that are more ephemeral and transitory than set ideologies or institutions.

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