Department of English

University of Toronto


ENG486H1S  L0101   W2-4
Poetics of Melancholy
Professor Elizabeth Harvey

Brief Description of Course: This course examines the theory and figuration of melancholy in psychoanalytic theory and poetry. We will read Freud's Mourning and Melancholia and The Ego and the Id as works that establish the psyche's relationship with loss and establish the foundation of unconscious object relations. We'll consider explorations of melancholy in theoretical writing and poetry. How does the poet engage the past, silence and absence, and how is the lost object encrypted within the text? Our investigations will engage gender, history and anachronism, affect, and scripting grief in poetic form.

Required Reading: Freud, Melanie Klein, Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, Thomas Ogden, Julia Kristeva, Judith Butler, and Giorgio Agamben; Anne Carson, Anthropology of Water, Canicula di Anna, The Glass Essay, and "Variations on the Right to Remain Silent" in Float.

First Three Authors/Texts: Sigmund Freud, Mourning and Melancholia, Anne Carson, "Variations on the Right to Remain Silent" in Float; Thomas Ogden, "Freud's ‘Mourning and Melancholia' and the Origins of Object Relations Theory."

Method of Instruction: Seminar.

Method of Evaluation: Participation (15%), oral presentation (25%), prospectus (20%), final essay (40%).

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