‘Hypochondria and its Discontents’ by Rebecca Comay | European Graduate School | 2015

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Rebecca Comay is a Professor of Philosophy at The European Graduate School / EGS and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto, where she also directs the Program in Literary Studies. Additionally, she is an associate member of both the German Department and the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. Focusing mainly on modern continental philosophy, Comay’s primary research and publications address Hegel, Marx(ism), Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Martin Heidegger, Marcel Proust, contemporary art criticism, trauma and memory, psychoanalysis, and political theology.

Comay received her Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy and Ancient Languages from the University of Toronto and her Master of Arts in Egyptology and Assyriology from Yale University. She returned to the University of Toronto to complete her doctoral studies focusing on the work of Hegel and Heidegger. Her dissertation, “Beyond” Aufhebung”: Reflections on the Bad Infinite (1986)––whose “title announces a certain aporia: the ‘beyond,’ of course, is precisely what Hegel claims to have transcended”––“explores Heidegger’s attempt to move beyond the recuperative powers of the dialectic” and, subsequently, “inscribes the Heideggerean project within the horizon of speculative idealism.”

One of Comay’s most recent books, Mourning Sickness: Hegel and the French Revolution (Stanford University Press, 2011), “explores Hegel’s response to the French Revolutionary Terror and its impact on Germany” and, in doing so, “provides a new reading of Hegel in the light of contemporary theories of historical trauma. It explores the ways in which major historical events are experienced vicariously, and the fantasies we use to make sense of them. Comay brings Hegel into relation with the most burning contemporary discussions around catastrophe, witness, memory, and the role of culture in shaping political experience.”


See also‘Hypochondria and Its Discontents, or, the Geriatric Sublime’ by Rebecca Comay (article)