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Theology and Dehumanization

Trauma, Grief, and Pathological Mourning in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century German Thought and Literature. Edited by Gail K. Hart in Collaboration with Ursula Mahlendorf, Thomas P. Saine and Hans Medick


Gail K. Hart

In this posthumous volume Jill Anne Kowalik analyzes pathological grief in 17th and 18th-century Germany. Early chapters outline the methodological prerequisites and the main theoretical underpinnings for her multidisciplinary study of mentality and give an overview of the theories and practices of consolation in the Western tradition. She traces the origins of pathological grief to the trauma of the Thirty Years War, and analyzes mourning practices as evidenced by funeral sermons for their punitive theological content. Rather than helping, these practices actually intensified the trauma of loss. The second part of the volume addresses the work of German writers such as Moritz, Nietzsche, Freud, and Goethe for their psychologically acute depiction of the effects of pathological mourning.
Contents: Trauma and Grief in Early Modern Central Europe: The Contours of the Problem – A Brief History of Consolation: Ancient and Early Christian Contexts - Early Modern German Protestant Trostschriften – Trauma in the Seventeenth Century – Critical-Theoretical Interlude I: Freudian Paradigms and German Literary Criticism – Pietist Grief, Empfindsamkeit, and Werther – Critical-Theoretical Interlude II: Moritz and Nietzsche on Ausschweifung as Repression – Feminine Identity Formation in Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre – Trauma and Memory in the Wahlverwandtschaften.