School of Culture and Communication - Research Publications

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    On depression considered as acephalic melancholia
    CLEMENS, JUSTIN ( 2003)
    “Pain and suffering begin with existence and end when it ends, and this end gives pain and suffering to those who survive.” — Jean-Luc Nancy This statement by Nancy opens a subsection of his book entitled “Pain, suffering, unhappiness,”(1977:143) in which the question of art necessarily arises, and arises necessarily because of modern art’s integral link to aesthetics, the science of feeling. Aesthetics, since at least the latter part of the eighteenth century, functions as a theory of the threshold between sense and sensibilia (to cite J.L. Austin), in which the pleasures and pains of a person’s particular body are bound up with a problem of a universal thought that is neither moral nor cognitive. Both passive and active, aesthetic judgements about art become part of the making of art itself, and these aesthetic judgements are ultimately founded in nothing other than pleasure and pain. Everything else is derivative. Yet it is also true that such derivatives are immensely valuable, the indices of a properly human life.
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    The marks of want and care
    Lee, Jenny (McPhee-Gribble, 1988)
    It is not true that time heals all wounds. Some wounds linger on until the wounded die and their pain is forgotten. A generation of Australians harboured searing memories of the 1890s depression - of hunger, cold, bewilderment, humiliation and fear. But they are gone now, and their memories with them. If the depression is remembered at all, it is for the bank crashes of 1893, which produced panic among the propertied class. The working people and the unemployed who felt the chill most severely left few written records. Here, as in so many other areas of Australian life, the privilege of being remembered, being included in ‘history’, has been open to only a few. But why would anyone want to re-live the sufferings of a dead generation? Perhaps because so many of the institutions we take for granted began as attempts to do something about the effects of the 1890s crisis. Federation, state welfare, arbitration and the rise of the Labor Party all date back to that time. The crisis also ushered in profound changes in family life. As earlier chapters have discussed, the 1890s marked the beginning of the trend towards smaller families, with all that it implies for the way that people organize their lives. If the memory of the 1890s has gone, its legacy is still with us.