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Das melancholische Imaginäre und seine Faszination in der englischen Literatur der Frühen Neuzeit. Einblicke mit Thomas Hobbes, John Milton und Robert Burton

Till Kinzel

Pages 103 - 120

The melancholy imaginary is of major importance for understanding early modern English literature. Its considerable fascination for different writers and thinkers led to the development of widely divergent approaches to the cultural presence of melancholy. Whereas a political philosopher like Thomas Hobbes attempted to delimit and control the melancholy imaginary in order to check both political and individual forms of madness, John Milton developed a more ambivalent attitude towards it. Hobbes’s anti-melancholy political philosophy with its corollary of anti-utopian politics is juxtaposed by Robert Burton’s more openly utopian thinking. Although Burton’s approach to the melancholy imaginary claims to be motivated by the desire to cure his own melancholy, he stays much more attuned to its productive literary potential and thus contributes to an on-going process of the acculturation of the melancholy imaginary.


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