The essay collection focuses on morbid phenomena such as melancholy, trauma, illness and death which engage with questions of «cultural vitality» and «cultural mortality». The figurations and representations of social pathologies not only display time in its existential drama, but furthermore show a paradox inherent to processes of decay: in passing lies a certain accumulation of life. Thus the morbid indicates the presence of the living, although it intentionally prefigures death. The collection points to the complex interconnections of social, medical and cultural discourses and assumes the seemingly negative of the morbid presence to be the constitutive element of the imagination and a catalyst for individual empowerment. As a source of life and art, the morbid then equally locates the point of intersection between ethics and aesthetics.