Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-v

Contents

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p. vii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-xi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

I am grateful to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture, and McGill University for generous research and travel grants. These have enabled me to secure the necessary funding for the research underlying this book, together with its material (photographic...

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Introduction

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pp. xv-xxix

This book is an attempt to understand a certain trajectory of contemporary art, one that has brought into the forefront of aesthetics what must be called a series of depressive enactments—an acting out of states of depression encompassing boredom, stillness, communicational rupture, loss of pleasure, withdrawal, the withering of...

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1. The Withering of Melancholia

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pp. 1-49

A constant within descriptions of depression and melancholia is the reference to sadness without cause, without apparent occasion, or without reason. As far back as the Aristotelian definition of melancholy temperament as a “groundless despondency,” and Celsus’s recommendation that the dejected state of the afflicted “be gently...

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2. The Laboratory of Deficiency

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pp. 51-93

First elaborated in 1935 but revised many times subsequently, the depressive position theorized by Melanie Klein pertains to the child’s distressed reaction to weaning and, in a more general way, to experiences of loss of and separation from loved objects. In the latter half of the first year, “the baby,” writes Klein, “experiences depressive...

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3. Image-Screens, or The Aesthetic Strategy of Disengagement

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pp. 95-140

I n his epistemology of contemporary aesthetics, philosopher Jean-Marie Schaeffer singles out the “relational” as the fundamental property of the viewer’s attitude or conduct vis-à-vis the artwork. This formulation is highly significant to art’s enactment of depression, whose main characteristic is to depreciate not only intersubjectivity...

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4. Nothing to See?

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pp. 141-178

One of the main points of contention separating the psychiatric and psychoanalytical approaches to depression (and to mental disorder in general) is the question of the symptom, its nature and value at the moment of diagnosis and its treatment. In both approaches, the symptom—the observable phenomenon that, in cases...

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5. The Critique of the Dementalization of the Subject

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pp. 179-201

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, now in its revised fourth edition (DSM–IV–TR, 2000), is a system of classification of mental disorders that uses diagnostic criteria to identify mental disorders through the observation of clinical....

Notes

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pp. 203-234

Index

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pp. 235-244

About the Author

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p. 245