Catalogue


Mourning sickness : Hegel and the French Revolution /
Rebecca Comay.
imprint
Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, c2011.
description
xiv, 202 p. ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0804761272 (Paper), 9780804761277 (Paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, c2011.
isbn
0804761272 (Paper)
9780804761277 (Paper)
catalogue key
7340259
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [157]-192) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Rebecca Comay is Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature and co-director of the Program in Literary Studies at the University of Toronto.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-10-01:
Comay (Univ. of Toronto) attempts an understanding of Hegel's ethical thought by situating it in the context of German responses to the French Revolution. In Comay's account, German philosophy (and German thought more generally) from Kant through Hegel represents an attempt to translate the practical radicalism of France into a more domesticated theoretical revolution. The author's discussion focuses on the transition in approach from Kant to Hegel. Whereas Kant's ethics repudiates political insurrection as it seeks to replace it with a moral conversion, Hegel rejects such a distanced appropriation. Although Hegel shares his contemporaries' assessment of the "untimeliness" of the revolution and its roots in the failure of the Reformation in France, his ethics of forgiveness in the Phenomenology seeks to historicize that event so that its destructiveness remains intact, "but it no longer confronts ... as a stony obstacle.. Comay's grasp of a broad range of the literature of the time is impressive, though her speculative and highly literary style of argument will not appeal to all philosophers. Her index is thorough and well organized. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and researchers/faculty. J. A. Gauthier University of Portland
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Masterful in its analysis of Hegel's arguments and unparalleled in its sensitivity to the subtleties of Hegel's texts, Mourning Sicknessoffers a new and compelling reading of Hegel, in which the French Revolution emerges as the "burning center" of his work. But this is also a penetrating study of the intractably historical dimensions of philosophical invention. From its treatment of the opposition between Reformation and Revolution to its reading of Kant's theory of regicide, from its account of Hegel's analysis of the Terror to its interpretation of Absolute Knowing, this book brilliantly demonstrates how ambiguous--and yet how crucial--the relations between thought and historical experience can be."--Daniel Heller-Roazen, Princeton University
"Rebecca Comay has written a stunning and powerful book. By making Hegel's account of the "Terror" of the French Revolution the pivot of her reading, Comay offers a Hegel who is more radically modern and intransigently difficult than anything either his supporters or critics have imagined. Comay's work makes philosophy a more capacious, riven, and historically reflective place than before--or maybe just catching up to what Hegel demanded it must be.Mourning Sicknesswill become as important to reading the second half ofPhenomenology of Spiritas Robert Pippin's work is to reading the first half."--J. M. Bernstein, New School for Social Research
"Masterful in its analysis of Hegel's arguments and unparalleled in its sensitivity to the subtleties of Hegel's texts,Mourning Sicknessoffers a new and compelling reading of Hegel, in which the French Revolution emerges as the "burning center" of his work. But this is also a penetrating study of the intractably historical dimensions of philosophical invention. From its treatment of the opposition between Reformation and Revolution to its reading of Kant's theory of regicide, from its account of Hegel's analysis of the Terror to its interpretation of Absolute Knowing, this book brilliantly demonstrates how ambiguous--and yet how crucial--the relations between thought and historical experience can be."--Daniel Heller-Roazen, Princeton University
"Rebecca Comay has written a stunning and powerful book. By making Hegel's account of the "Terror" of the French Revolution the pivot of her reading, Comay offers a Hegel who is more radically modern and intransigently difficult than anything either his supporters or critics have imagined. Comay's work makes philosophy a more capacious, riven, and historically reflective place than before--or maybe just catching up to what Hegel demanded it must be. Mourning Sicknesswill become as important to reading the second half of Phenomenology of Spiritas Robert Pippin's work is to reading the first half."--J. M. Bernstein, New School for Social Research
"Comay's grasp of a broad range of the literature of the time is impressive. . . Her index is thorough and well organized. Recommended."J. A. Gauthier, CHOICE
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2011
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Summaries
Main Description
This book explores Hegel's response to the French Revolutionary Terror and its impact on Germany. Like many of his contemporaries, Hegel was struck by the seeming parallel between the political upheaval in France and the upheaval in German philosophy inaugurated by the Protestant Reformation and brought to a climax by German Idealism. Many thinkers reasoned that a political revolution would be unnecessary in Germany, because this intellectual "revolution" had preempted it. Having already been through its own cataclysm, Germany would be able to extract the energy of the Revolution and channel its radicalism into thought. Hegel comes close to making such an argument too. But he also offers a powerful analysis of how this kind of secondhand history gets generated in the first place, and shows what is stake. This is what makes him uniquely interesting among his contemporaries: he demonstrates how a fantasy can be simultaneously deconstructed and enjoyed. Mourning Sicknessprovides a new reading of Hegel in the light of contemporary theories of historical trauma. It explores the ways in which major historical events are experienced vicariously, and the fantasies we use to make sense of them. Comay brings Hegel into relation with the most burning contemporary discussions around catastrophe, witness, memory, and the role of culture in shaping political experience.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Abbreviationsp. xii
Introduction: French Revolution, German Misèrep. 1
Missed Revolutions: Translation, Transmission, Traumap. 8
"...an impossibly speedy motion"p. 8
Translatio imperiip. 14
Copernican and Other Revolutionsp. 17
"The Magic Wand of Analogy"p. 20
Noch nicht und doch schon...p. 21
Translation as Traumap. 24
The Kantian Theaterp. 26
Crimen inexpiabilep. 28
Shipwreck with Spectatorp. 31
The Abyss of Formp. 35
Diabolical?p. 42
Moral Revolutionp. 46
Another Scenep. 50
The Corpse of Faithp. 55
Revolution or Reform?p. 55
Dead Rightp. 58
Erasuresp. 60
Terror as Melancholiap. 64
Of Kings and Cabbagesp. 67
Horror vacuip. 74
Revolution at a Distance, or, Moral Terrorp. 81
Philosophical Thermidorp. 82
"...another land"p. 85
From Terror to Anxietyp. 87
Morality as Slave Ideologyp. 91
Kant as Terroristp. 93
First Step: Morality as Perversionp. 98
Second Step: Perversion as Aestheticismp. 101
Third Step: Aestheticism as Ideologyp. 103
Vaporized Subjectivityp. 109
Terrors of the Tabula Rasap. 118
Antinomies of Forgivenessp. 119
"Rushing Toward Reconciliation"p. 125
Wounds of Spiritp. 129
Politics of Forgiveness?p. 131
World Soul on Horsebackp. 136
"The Self-Moving Life of the Dead"p. 139
Gray on Gray (Hegel, Beckett, Richter)p. 142
"As if it had learned nothing..."p. 145
"We, the masters..."p. 149
Notesp. 157
Indexp. 193
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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