Prof. Jimena Berzal de Dios publishes "Chthonic Restitutions: Madness and Oblivion"

medieval monster with two heads, one biting the other on the neck

Professor of Art History Jimena Berzal de Dios' 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, she takes 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 her 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.

Read the full essay in SubStance - a journal of Johns Hopkins University Press.

Image: Amphisbaena from the Aberdeen Bestiary, 12th century, Aberdeen University Library, England. Univ. Lib. MS 24

Authored on

Nov 24, 2020 12:04pm