As a Weasel Sucks Eggs: An Essay on Melancholy and Cannibalism

As a Weasel Sucks Eggs: An Essay on Melancholy and Cannibalism

Anders Olsson, Daniel Birnbaum

Language: English

Pages: 173


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Originally published in Swedish in 1992, As a Weasel Sucks Eggs examines the enigmatic relation of melancholia to an early kind of cannibalism, which psychoanalysis, in particular, stressed. It contains reading of, amongst others, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Bernhard, Sigmund Freud, G. W. F. Hegel, and the Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf. The authors also quote Goethe and Rabelais, for whom food is a cosmic principle, the soil of fertility, on which all creation is based. In a transferred sense, food also plays that same role for the melancholiac—he who questions the normal order of things, who creates an other “unknown food,” with a variety of meanings. The authors “trace the desire for this other food through the ages, and scrutinize its relationship to both primitive sacrificial rites as well as contemporary anthropology, philosophy, and linguistic theory.”


















but also to animal forces that threaten to eclipse all reason.” It is only with the Renaissance philosophers, above all Ficino, that the Aristotelian understanding of the melancholy of the “great men” is definitively united with the Platonic notion of a higher, creative madness. The melancholiac is described in Ficino’s De vita triplici as an extraordinary perthe influence of black bile opens the eyes of the child of Saturn to truths that remain inaccessible to common sense: “Saturn sets its mark

by vomiting and acute stomach problems. the other hand, because of this terrible convulsions — hereby acquires a dual and difficult to define position in the entire economy constituted by the interaction of the humors. It is at once the most noble of the humors able to bring the mind into the highest form of harmony and a threat to the balance in the body and the psyche. Without a small dose of black bile, the mind does not reach the heights of genius, but the slightest surplus of the black

inner crypt of the “I"— without obliterating the subject by expelling everything that is psychic, indeed ultiwithout mately the psyche or soul as such, from the frenetic repetitiveness of the machinery of language. Darkness and death don’t constitute conditions that can be conjured up from the depths of melancholy, but must rather be driven out: death has been transformed into has become a repetitive process a death drive that language itself. But this process never ends, a completed

Hegel’s Erirmerung. but to an absolute t-xlcrnal. a completely blank exteriority. Like a dancing star. the Ubermensch takes a step out of the slow cycle of history out into a friction—free zone without memory and heaviness. — — 144 laughter. The affirmative power of laughter is deeper than all serious thought and all philosophical systems: laughter transcends, sublates, demolishes in its ecstatic vortex, the system is shattered. For Bataille, Nietzschean laughter — is the transgressive ing

about the relationship between melancholy and diet can be drawn from Burton's presentation? “Generally, all such meats as are hard of digestion breed melancholy.”3‘ The more indigestible, the greater the metaholic disturbance, and the greater the risk of melancholy. Beyond general truths of that sort, there is perhaps not much more that can be said about the snow, and frozen up. endless list. But this testifies per se, a fixation that finds What nine to an the melancholiac’s obsession

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