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Aberrations of Mourning

Aberrations of Mourning

Laurence A. Rickels
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 424
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  • Book Info
    Aberrations of Mourning
    Book Description:

    Aberrations of Mourning, originally published in 1988, is the long unavailable first book in Laurence A. Rickels’s “unmourning” trilogy, followed by The Case of California and Nazi Psychoanalysis. Rickels studies mourning and melancholia within and around psychoanalysis, maintaining that we must shift the way we read literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis to go beyond traditional Oedipal structures.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7690-3
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xiv)
    (pp. 1-21)

    On the sidelines of German intellectual history—Geistesgeschichte—ghostbusters can find, tucked inside a supplement to “Documentary Reports,” the inside view of vampirism as the work of the Weltgeist.¹Geist is Geist:the intellect or spirit is, in German, always also a ghost.Aberrations of Mourningexplores a phantasmaticGeistesgeschichtenot addressed within the traditional framework of theories and histories that emphasize only Oedipal structures. The study accordingly involves a reconsideration and reshifting of certain basic tenets which inform the way we read literature, philosophy, and, in turn, psychoanalysis itself. As such it suggests a reading of both reading and...

    (pp. 22-59)
    Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche

    Lessing’s childhood portrait which, according to his own wish, depicted him reading a book is theUr-portrait of the child. The idea of childhood was among the effects of the printing press; the new standard of literacy summoned the pupil who, until he became a differentiating reader of print, was not yet an adult. As became increasingly clear the more he could be observed in his new habitat, this pupil had to be considered as something separate, as child. With the advent of printing-press culture the child received a proper name and image which could be reflected even beyond death;...

    (pp. 60-98)
    Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

    “A painter without hands who wanted to express the picture distinctly present to his mind by the agency of song,” Nietzsche wagers in “On Truth and Lie in the Extra-Moral Sense,” “will still reveal much more with this exchange of spheres, than the empirical world reveals about the essence of things.” ¹ Nietzsche summons here, from Lessing’sEmilia Galotti,a painter’s affirmation in spite of the always disfigured reach of artistic creation:

    What Lessing’s painter calls the long way from eye to hand to brush, Nietzsche designates as a series of transferences(Übertragungen)from nerve impulse to image, from image...

    (pp. 99-119)
    Wilhelm Heinse

    According toGeistesgeschichteWilhelm Heinse was a popular writer who, in his own lifetime, became the widow of his reputation and acclaim. And yet his untimely predictions of future achievements of the popular—the musical and military—Geistrender Heinse one of the ghostwriters of the modern era. This secret reverberation, which can be conducted all the way to Nietzsche’s Dionysus, commenced as the resonance Heinse’s works found with Holderlin, who dedicated his elegy “Bread and Wine” to Heinse before being beamed back to another time zone. Goethe, Schiller, and Wilhelm von Humboldt had witnessed only the ladies line up...

    (pp. 120-171)
    Antonin Artaud

    Post-psychoanalytic readings of the Schreber case have resituated madness, otherwise located beyond the outposts of communication, at the very switches of communication systems.¹ With the emergence of the modern technical media, madness—Schreber’s paranoia, for instance—increasingly amounts to direct, unveiled awareness of the amplifications, extensions—the new organs—the media append to our new, organless bodies. The primal scene of mental breakdown always opens onto some machine, which breaks down. According to McLuhan, every modern medium is provided with a “cloak of invisibility”; though a medium ostensibly communicates with intimate directness, it in fact works subliminally or magically to...

    (pp. 172-217)
    Gottfried Keller

    On a visit to Zürich Kafka made a point of visiting the “Keller-Rooms” but found them locked(versperrf).¹ This “Versperrung,” which had earlier kept Nietzsche from penetrating to Keller—though in Nietzsche’s case it was Keller’s sister Regula who intercepted the philosopher’s approach—designates the crypt effect of a corpus that was always and already—to borrow the title of one of Keller’s earliest cycle of poems—“Buried Alive.”

    Nietzsche, who singled out Keller’sSeldwyla Folksas one of the very few German books which could be affirmed to the point of relentless rereading, ² remained convinced that, at least...

    (pp. 218-242)
    Adalbert Stifter

    Through the telescope which emerges spectacularly in Stifter’s “Condor” and “Mountain Forest” as embodiment of the narrative perspective, Rilke found reflected back, in at once magnified and dismantled form, a veritable primal scene: “Some reflective reader of Stifter . . . could be brought to surmise that for this lyric narrative artist his inner vocation had appeared inescapable on that unforgettable day he first sought to summon through the telescope an outermost point of the landscape and then, in utterly dismayed vision, experienced a flight of spaces, clouds, objects, and terror in the face of this abundance, such that in...

    (pp. 243-293)
    Franz Kafka

    On Kafka’s side of the Tower of Babel, the heavens, the imperial palace, and the highest court still transmit the Old Testament double injunction whereby “the Law” invites entry or transgression and then renders itself inaccessible, as, by law, it must. Kafka’s response, however, as Deleuze has argued, was to marshal a “nomadic war machine,” a “battering ram directed against itself,” and not to construct another “ivory tower.”¹ As demonstrated by “The Great Wall of China,” any attempt to erect a “new Tower of Babel” yields a potentially endless series of isometric segments linked and separated by gaps such that...

    (pp. 294-332)
    Karl Kraus

    Walter Benjamin draws the analogy between visual media of magnification and psychoanalysis, which, in their separate takes, bring into focus that which otherwise remains outside a normal range of the senses. What film, for example, projects is in fact projected in psychoses, hallucinations, and dreams. These states of isolation, however, are granted the common or communal currency of the waking state in films featuring “figures of the collective dream such as Mickey Mouse orbiting the globe.”

    On the other side of this debate—at least at this point of injection—we find Adorno and Horkheimer warning against this administration of...

    (pp. 333-371)

    In his ultimate reckonings with melancholia, Freud found himself pushed back against the threshold of the womb. Two melancholies, Wolfman and Rank, delivered, on separate occasions, fantasies of traumatic birth and prenatal existence which threatened, in theory, to preempt Freud’s Oedipal interpretation of anxiety. The patient and the colleague each in turn introduced into psychoanalysis the unborn child who, because either normal or neurotic on arrival, depending upon the impact of arrival, never runs up against the Oedipus complex. By thus anchoring neurosis in the unborn state, Rank leaves out the father, which was his aim and inspiration, but only...

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 372-402)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 403-409)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 410-410)