As a Weasel Sucks Eggs: An Essay on Melancholy and Cannibalism
Anders Olsson, Daniel Birnbaum
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Originally published in Swedish in 1992, As a Weasel Sucks Eggs examines the enigmatic relation of melancholia to an early kind of cannibalism, which psychoanalysis, in particular, stressed. It contains reading of, amongst others, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Bernhard, Sigmund Freud, G. W. F. Hegel, and the Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf. The authors also quote Goethe and Rabelais, for whom food is a cosmic principle, the soil of fertility, on which all creation is based. In a transferred sense, food also plays that same role for the melancholiac—he who questions the normal order of things, who creates an other “unknown food,” with a variety of meanings. The authors “trace the desire for this other food through the ages, and scrutinize its relationship to both primitive sacrificial rites as well as contemporary anthropology, philosophy, and linguistic theory.”
make my mind ashamed of itself.“ Melancholic madness arises from isolation: the and imagination gallops away fantastic monsters. The ego, or “I,” is threatened with utter lunacy, but the “I” manages to stem the movement of the bolting horse by corralling creates the fantasies in ability of the written sign to fix the rushing images permits the “I” to find a new stability; the soul gets the opportunity to reflect on its creations writing means a rescue from the chaotic night of melancholy.
monotony and the repetition of the inability to link words together same formulas. into whole sentences and Opere latine di Francesco Petrarca, a cum di Antonietta Bufano. vol. 1. Turin 1975, p. l40f. Starobinski, La mélancolie au miroir, Trois lectures de Baudelaire, Paris 1989. Hugo, Romans, published by Henri Guillemin, vol. 3, Paris 1963, p. 151. Soleil noir, p. 24. 53 llw n-null lug Illl‘||t 1', rlllpm-n. and dissolution ntsyntax. She calls attention to -Inwna-nu and mm ttvtty as
Leifsjfiberg, p. 33. 109 the end, he all his places hopes at the foot of her picture: “like a tattered little wooden box.”‘5 X 157 The poem is its printed in Ekner's edition of Ekelfifs Sknfter. Stockholm entirety runs: lag vagade se upp pa bilden av dig jag vagade strécka fram handen till bon for Sedan barmhartighet biijde jag huvudet och bilden ur stracktes din hand tog mig i haret och skakade om mitt huvud lag forstod: jag fick icke énska mer in mig tilliits skulle
Holy follow Communion and tions the traces of the crime but of which they and identified themselves through the ages the identity of the totem sacrifice, with theanthropic human sacrifice and with we can feast with animal sanctity thereby, must munion, however, is we can by which recognize in all these celebra- deeply weighed down proud. The Christian com- men were so nonetheless feel so essentially a fresh elimination of the father, a repeti- tion of the guilty deed. the
Because usage in English has been inconsistent, the terms used in quoted material will often vary, and references back to quoted material will sometimes use the original authors’ terms (for example, “clinical melancholia”). It is hoped that occasional deviation from our translation choice will be more enriching than confusing. The translator would like to thank the authors for numerous extremely helpful suggestions, as well as a number of fascinating discussions about the a more book itself.