Melancholia: Passing Through and Beyond

Excerpt from “Melancholia: Passing Through and Beyond” in The Philosophy of Julia Kristeva, ed. Sara G. Beardsworth. Library of Living Philosophers Series, vol. xxxvi, Southern Illinois University Carbondale/Open Court Publishing, 2020.

  • “We find Kristeva’s conception of the new humanism emerging as a questioning and problematization of the tradition, and centered on the question of God. It is an infinite task that begins by taking seriously the “maladies of ideality” and involves a transvaluation of values while keeping alive the inner self by a “perpetual questioning of its norms and powers; of its own sexual, national, linguistic identity; of its desires, its sufferings, its loves, and its hates.” This perpetual questioning takes place through psychoanalysis, art, and anatheism—Kearney’s term for the return to God after God through a rediscovery and rethinking of the religious experience of the past. Kristeva’s new post-Christian humanism is to fulfill our perennial “incredible need to believe” and “to “exceed the human, which is in crisis—to always and constantly go beyond” while preserving the Christian notion of love and forgiveness within the meeting of cultures. It is a sui generis remedy liberating the self-entranced melancholy person for a post-apocalyptic new being, a courageous and timely response to the black sun.”