Contexts for Mrs. Dalloway - University of Washington
Contexts for Mrs. Dalloway Freud, Mourning and Melancholia (1917) Mourning [T]he reaction of the loss of a loved person, or to the loss of some abstraction which has taken the place of one, such as ones country, liberty, and ideal, and so on (243). Symptomsapart from decreased self-esteemsame as melancholia As with melancholia, involves denial of loss and intense remembering of loved object. Prolonged clinging to lost object, but eventually respect for reality gains the day (244), one recognizes loss
and can emotionally attach to new object. When the work of mourning is completed, the ego becomes free and uninhibited again (245). Melancholia Same cause as mourning. Symptoms include (244): profoundly painful dejection, cessation of interest in the outside world, loss of the capacity to love, inhibition of all activity, and decrease of self-esteem, tendency to self reproach which can culminate in a delusional expectation of punishment
(244). The patient presents his ego . . . as worthless , incapable of any achievement, and morally despicable . . . (246). Melancholic may not consciously perceive full extent of what has been lost. Melancholic incorporates lost object into own ego. Self-accusations may actually apply to lost object. World War I Scope 32 nations divided into Triple Entente (England, Russia, France) and Triple Alliance (Germany, Italy,
Austria-Hungary) powers Estimated $186 billion total cost Troop deaths estimated at 37 million, civilian at 10 million (Great Britain and colonies experienced 35% death, wounding, imprisonment or MIA of troops) Technologies of chlorine gas, tanks, planes, more destructive shells and weapons Photo of mustard gas victim courtesy of: The Soldiers Reality (S. Davies WWI History Course) WWI, Contd Battle of the Somme (July 1916)
3M shells launched at German trenches over one week July 1 ground attack resulted in 20,000 killed and 40,000 wounded out of 100,000 British and French troops Trench warfare Military Service Act (Great Britain 1916) Photo of soldier at Battle of the Somme courtesy: WWI Research Project at The Learning Center Shell Shock Fatigue Insomnia Inability to concentrate Headaches Irritability Physical symptoms: blindness, twitching, limb dysfunction Hallucinatory flashbacks to war experience
Sources and Further Reading The Battle of the Somme. The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century. PBS. Bourke, Joanna. Shell Shock in World War I. BBC: World Wars in Depth. Freud, Sigmund. Mourning and Melancholia. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV. 237-258. Matthews, Stephen. Modernism: A Sourcebook. New York: Palgrave, 2008. The Medical History of WWI: Psychiatry. WWI: The Medical Front. Report of the War Office Committee of Enquiry into Shell Shock (1922)
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