By Ann Cvetkovich

In melancholy: A Public Feeling, Ann Cvetkovich combines memoir and significant essay looking for methods of writing approximately melancholy as a cultural and political phenomenon that provide possible choices to scientific types. She describes her personal adventure of the pro pressures, artistic nervousness, and political hopelessness that ended in highbrow blockage whereas she used to be completing her dissertation and writing her first ebook. development at the insights of the memoir, within the serious essay she considers the concept feeling undesirable constitutes the lived event of neoliberal capitalism.

Cvetkovich attracts on an strange archive, together with bills of early Christian acedia and non secular depression, texts connecting the histories of slavery and colonialism with their violent present-day legacies, and utopian areas produced from lesbian feminist practices of crafting. She herself seeks to craft a queer cultural research that debts for melancholy as a ancient classification, a felt event, and some degree of access into discussions approximately concept, modern tradition, and daily life. melancholy: A Public Feeling means that utopian visions can dwell in day-by-day behavior and practices, akin to writing and yoga, and it highlights the centrality of somatic and felt adventure to political activism and social transformation.

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While there is an especially neat convergence here between the content of my intellectual impasse and the experience of it—both were about hopelessness—connecting depression to hopelessness or frustration also suggests that it has solutions, however difficult they may be to conceptualize or achieve. Indeed, I was delighted when I discovered that impasse was one of the keywords being explored by Feel Tank Chicago, and their thinking has encouraged me to take impasse seriously as a concept and an experience.

See “From Surface to Depth, between Psychoanalysis and Affect,” Muñoz’s introduction to “Between Psychoanalysis and Affect: A Public Feelings Project,” as well as the entire special issue of Women and Performance more generally, for a discussion of the complementary rather than mutually Notes to Introduction 215 exclusive relation between affect theory and psychoanalysis. See also Brennan, The Transmission of Affect, for an example of psychoanalytically inflected work that is also attentive to the somatic nature of affect and its intersubjective qualities, as well as Sedgwick’s turn to Sylvan Tompkins for alternatives to psychoanalysis in Sedgwick and Frank, Shame and Its Sisters.

See the discussion of Mixed Feelings in Sedgwick and Frank, Shame and Its Sisters, 15–19. In retrospect, I find it interesting that Sedgwick so astutely identifies the problem with which I was struggling, but in failing to notice the gestures toward the reparative in Mixed Feelings, she herself remains in the critical mode. Among other things, my work on depression and public feelings is the result of a long period of pondering this encounter with Sedgwick in order to view with more compassion the blockages that accompanied my fledgling version of the affective turn.

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