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The Ends of Mourning: Psychoanalysis, Literature, Film (Cultural Memory of the Present)by Alessia Ricciardi
Synopses & Reviews
“Alessia Ricciardi's The Ends of Mourning is a cogently argued and beautifully written work that deals with the fascinating and timely question of mourning. Ricciardi's book advances the existing body of work on trauma by considering the place of mourning in the transition from modernity to postmodernity. This place is, we learn, a missing place, for there is an important sense in which mourning is absent from the collective theoretical consciousness of our time; with a few exceptions, theory of the postmodern era has tended to promote a sense of the post-historical, as though we could somehow be simply free and clear of the past without ever having to mourn it. ” —Peter Connor,Barnard College
“Alessia Ricciardis truly outstanding book makes a significant contribution to critical theory in general and to psychoanalytically informed cultural criticism in particular. In many respects, it will prove to be a landmark study. . . . The End of Mourning is an extensive, brilliant, and brilliantly executed exposition of a complex and challenging theoretical and historical argument: that twentieth-century culture and thought has been impoverished—in spite of a fascination and indeed obsession with all things historical—by refusal to consider the implications of Freuds emphasis on mourning as a proper way of relating to the past.” —Ulrich Baer,New York University
Book News Annotation:
Ricciardi (French and Italian, Northwestern U.) finds explanations for the devaluation of the concept of mourning in modern culture while pursuing clues in history, film, and literature, including analyses of writings by Freud and Proust during the early twentieth century. Ricciardi's interdisciplinary study argues that without a sense of memory's ethical urgency, society can relate to the past only as a spectacle to be consumed by mass culture. The study explores many different facets of mourning—including psychological, spiritual, intellectual, and ethical—that the current consumer society seems to have forgotten.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This book charts the emergence and development of the problem of mourning in the writings of Freud, Proust, and Freud's successor Lacan. Freud's idea of "sorrow work" and Proust's concept of involuntary memory defined the terms of the classic modernist account of mourning in the fields of psychoanalysis and literature. Yet their insistence on the egotistical aspects of loss to the exclusion of all ethical and political considerations threatens the dissolution of the question of mourning.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -257) and index.
About the Author
Alessia Ricciardi is Assistant Professor in the Department of French and Italian at Northwestern University.
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