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Chthonic Restitutions: Madness and Oblivion
SubStance (2020)
  • Javier Berzal de Dios, Western Washington University
This essay theorizes madness as a chthonic emplacement to dishevel existentially insufficient and detached interpretations of disorder. Reflecting on Nietzsche’s emphasis on poetry over systematic thought, I take up Lorca and Baudelaire’s visceral language on death and the earthly to revisit chthonic myths as expressing an underworld uncontrollable sphere beyond systematicity. Written from the phenomenologically precarious position of my own mental illness, this essay develops a sincere rhetoric to approach the chthonic from within rather than at sterilized distance. This positioning retains the indexicality of the intense and disorganized as a critical facet, in turn exploring the nuances of the experience without discursive reductions or romantic musings, from the ground down.
  • Theory,
  • aesthetics,
  • performative essay,
  • greek drama,
  • Aeschylus,
  • mad studies,
  • mental illness,
  • madness,
  • continental philosophy,
  • neitzsche,
  • heidegger,
  • chthonic,
  • forgetting,
  • phenomenlogy,
  • experimental scholarship
Publication Date
Fall November, 2020
Citation Information
Javier Berzal de Dios. "Chthonic Restitutions: Madness and Oblivion" SubStance Vol. 43 Iss. 3 (2020) p. 3 - 18
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