Tobin Siebers, Disability Aesthetics

In Disability Aesthetics, Siebers defines aesthetics as what bodies feel in the presence of other bodies. Works of art that engage with bodies, especially in regard to modern art, are also engaging with disability. Not only is disability representation a factor in art, it has only grown stronger over time. While we tend to subscribe… Continue reading Tobin Siebers, Disability Aesthetics

Carol Falvo Heffernan, The Melancholy Muse

In The Melancholy Muse, Carol Falvo Heffernan’s central argument is that Chaucer and Shakespeare, as emblematic authors of their respective periods, had extensive knowledge of the medical discourse of their day and used that experience when writing. Her central point is that Chaucer and Shakespeare are taking the knowledge of their time about melancholy and… Continue reading Carol Falvo Heffernan, The Melancholy Muse

Cvetkovich, Depression: A Public Feeling

Frederic Jamison’s statement that it is impossible to imagine alternatives to capitalism under capitalism hangs behind this book, which seems to assert that responses to adverse events (including capitalism, but also wage theft, disenfranchisement, and its other results) can and should bring about feelings of change, even if they also bring despair. Cvetcovich begins her… Continue reading Cvetkovich, Depression: A Public Feeling

WJT Mitchell, Picture Theory

Mitchell argues that we are experiencing a “pictoral turn” which is actually a return to pictures as an interplay between people, institutions, and looking. It is the realization that spectatorship is as important as reading, and that images are not subservient to text. He believes that the best way to combat growing surveillance and propaganda… Continue reading WJT Mitchell, Picture Theory

A Disputation Between the Body and the Worms

This is one primary text I am using that doesn’t contain an explicit mention of sorrow or melancholy. I am mainly interested in it because of its associations with earth and the extended descriptions of decomposition it contains. I am interested in these things because the first is intimately tied together with melancholy in the… Continue reading A Disputation Between the Body and the Worms

Lydgate, Compleynte of a Lovers Lyfe

I am reading this immediately after Book of the Duchess, so I guess it’s inevitable that there will be some crossover between the two. The most immediate difference from that poem, although they begin almost identically, is that the narrator of this poem isn’t in a dream. He is also suffering from a “sekenes” that… Continue reading Lydgate, Compleynte of a Lovers Lyfe

Barthes, Camera Lucida

I finished reading Camera Lucida this morning later than I meant to, because I got distracted by reading this article in Esquire by Jeff Sharlet titled “All That We’ve Lost”. Sharlet has spent this year tweeting about people who have died from COVID-19, mini-obituaries. One of them struck me in particular; a daughter speaking about… Continue reading Barthes, Camera Lucida

Susan Stewart, The Ruins Lesson

The Ruins Lesson is a history of the social and artistic function of ruins from late antiquity to the twentieth century, mostly focused on the Roman empire, the Renaissance, and the Romantics. She is interested in exploring why the ruin has been such an enduring figure in art and culture, and why we are interested… Continue reading Susan Stewart, The Ruins Lesson

Generations of Feeling, Barbara Rosenwein

In her book Generations of Feeling, Barbara Roswenwein is interested in providing a history of emotions that crosses the medieval/modern divide, giving us a genealogy of different ways of conceptualizing emotions. While she explicitly wants to follow this over the medieval/early modern divide, in order to show that concepts like rationality have a much longer… Continue reading Generations of Feeling, Barbara Rosenwein