Mourning the Lost Mother and the Lost Self

Jennifer Radden

in The Nature of Melancholy

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195151657
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849253 | DOI:
Mourning the Lost Mother and the Lost Self

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This chapter presents excerpts from Julia Kristeva's Black Sun: Depression and Melancholy (1989). Kristeva's primary analysis proposes a loss theory of melancholia in the tradition of Freud's “Mourning and Melancholia.” Like Freud and Klein before her, she asserts that early development results in a separation of the infant-mother dyad, and she identifies the sadness of depression with a mourning for the lost other (mother, breast) relinquished at weaning. In addition to such “objectal” depression, Kristeva adapts Freud's theory of the death wish to introduce the notion of a kind of depression that is “narcissistic.” Thus, as well as a form of mourning for the lost mother, melancholia is a mourning for the lost self.

Keywords: Julia Kristeva; Black Sun: Depression and Melancholy; melancholia; loss; depression; Freud; infants

Chapter.  3985 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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