What is collective catharsis

Languages ​​of Emotion

By capturing tragedy in its effect as catharsis (purification) of tragic emotions (fear and pity), Aristotle ensures a discussion that continues to this day. Jacob Bernays breaks with the moral (Lessing) and aesthetic (Goethe) catharsis tradition in his philological treatise "Fundamentals of the lost treatise of Aristotle on the effects of tragedy" (1857). Instead he brings the "Sollicitation", i. H. the targeted arousal and "discharge" of the emotions into the discussion.

Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud follow this impulse when they describe their hysterical therapy as a "cathartic method" in the "Studies on Hysteria" (1895); Friedrich Nietzsche, too, has referred to Bernays since the "Birth of Tragedy" (1872) and places the cathartic "discharge" at the service of increased life.

The focus of the project is the redefinition and delimitation of the term, which is no longer only discussed in the classic fields of poetics and ethics, religion and politics, but also in medicine and psychology, as well as in aesthetics and cultural theory. With Bernays, catharsis becomes a key concept in the conception of ever new "Languages ​​of Emotion".


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