“In melancholia the ego … identifies with the abandoned object. ..The incorporation of the lost object becomes ..a preservation of the loss but also an idealization of loss in the form of an ego-ideal.” – SUZETTE MIN http://ift.tt/1QJca9R


The melancholic here is attached less to the one they have lost than to the loss itself. Lack now becomes a hole rather than a source of possibilities. … Clinicians who notice the link between the melancholic’s condition and a loss are often tempted to try to make the person mourn. But this can be a dangerous aspiration. The mourner must constitute his object by separating the empty place of the fundamentally lost object from the images of the people who go into it. But the melancholic is faced with a difficulty here: there is no difference for him between the object and the place it occupies. It is as if a real empirical object like a person has come to embody the dimension of lack.

Darian Leader

Mourning involves the process of establishing the denial of a positive term, a recognition of absence and loss. We accept that a presence is no longer there. Melancholia, on the other hand, involves the affirmation of a negative term. The lost loved one becomes a hole, an ever-present void which the melancholic cannot give up his attachment to.

Mourning, Melancholia And Depression, p199

if I can overcome my grief, I can love again, love someone else again. Where that doesn’t happen is in the experience of what we might call ‘abnormal mourning’, or melancholia. In abnormal mourning I just don’t get over the other’s death; that other’s death takes flight into the ego – sure – but it takes flight in a way that haunts and divides that ego in a way that leaves it troubled. This is the melancholic ego. What I’m arguing for is a melancholic idea of finitude:death comes into the world through the death of others, and it’s something we never get over.

Simon Critchley, How to stop living and start worrying

Perhaps…one mourns when one accepts that by the loss one undergoes one will be changed, possibly forever. Perhaps mourning has to do with agreeing to undergo a transformation (perhaps one should say submitting to a transformation) the full result of which one cannot know in advance. There is losing, as we know, but there is also the transformative effect of loss, and this latter cannot be charted or planned.

Judith Butler Precarious Life