Dwelling on Grief
Narratives of Mourning Across Time and Forms

Edited by Simona Corso, Florian Mussgnug, and Jennifer Rushworth

Transcript 22


7 June 2022  •  236pp

ISBN: 978-1-839540-34-9 (hardback)  •  RRP £85, $115, €99

ISBN: 978-1-839540-35-6 (paperback, forthcoming)

ISBN: 978-1-839540-36-3 (JSTOR ebook)

Access online: Books@JSTOR


How and why do we write about mourning? How does narrative assist us when we dwell on, in, and with grief? What forms of community and even consolation do mournful texts offer? In this broad-ranging volume, twelve contributors grapple with these questions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives: Comparative Literature, Modern Languages, English, Music, Politics, and Biology. Chapters reflect upon different forms and expressions of grief across a very broad expanse of time, from the earliest evidence of human burial to contemporary grief memoirs, environmental mourning, and the coronavirus pandemic. In between, particular attention is paid both to medieval poetic traditions of mourning and to the responses of later readers to such texts. Four creative critical contributions are interspersed throughout the volume as witnesses to the imbrication of life and art in grief.

Simona Corso is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Roma Tre; Florian Mussgnug is Professor of Comparative Literature and Italian Studies at University College London; Jennifer Rushworth is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at University College London.


  • ‘Engaging with the long and multimedial history of cultural practices of mourning and the outputs they inspired, this book emphasises the transhistorical and communal dimension of grief. Such an impressive methodological and disciplinary variety – in addition to the volume’s broad temporal scope – is what sets Dwelling on Grief apart from other studies that favour a narrower linguistic, methodological, or chronological focus... The volume offers valuable insights to specialists across the humanities and, given its readability and the wonderful juxtaposition of academic and creative forms of writing, it may also be of interest to readers seeking to expand their understanding of this universal dimension of the human experience.’ — Silvia Vittonatto, Status Quaestionis 24, 2023, 387-90
  • ‘Indagine agile e accattivante, A Gaping Wound fornisce una chiara ed elegante mappatura dell’evoluzione del mourning letterario italiano e si pone come strumento critico innovativo e proficuo a chi voglia conoscere e vagliare il variegato universo della Sehnsucht autoriale postmoderna.’ — Olimpia Pelosi, Annali d'Italianistica 41, 2023, 603-06
  • ‘Il carattere innovativo del volume – soprattutto per il panorama criti-co italiano in cui questo tema trova solo sporadiche analisi e non è ancora stato oggetto di un’indagine così ampia – è anche offerto dal confronto con le più consolidate teorie del lutto – a cominciare dalla distinzione freudiana tra lutto e melanconia fino alla riflessione di Derrida, Heidegger, Agamben e Barthes, dalla revisione della relazione tra lutto e poesia nel Medioevo fino alle più recenti questioni globali.’ — Claudia Cao, Between 13.25, 2023 (full text online)



Simona Corso, Jennifer Rushworth, Florian Mussgnug


The Poetry of Mourning in the Vita nova: An Agambenian Reading
Catherine Keen


Voicing Lament: Poet and Reader as Mourners in Dante’s Commedia
Helena Phillips-Robins


Mourning in and around Petrarch
Luca Marcozzi


A Quiet Task
David Bowe


Roland Barthes’s Mournful Dante
Jennifer Rushworth


From Medieval Text to Modern Glass: Expressions of Mourning in The Dream of the Rood and Laurence Whistler
Susan Irvine


The Poet’s Mourning and the Philosopher’s Consolation: René Descartes’s Letter of Condolence to Constantijn Huygens
Jürgen Pieters*


‘I did it. I do not deny it’: Mourning, Tragedy, and the Law in Contemporary Philosophy
Uta Staiger


Musical Language and Remembering the Tragic in Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet no. 8 in C minor, op. 110
Luca Aversano


The Ontology of Mourning
Aarathi Prasad


Selected Poems
Elena Buia Rutt


A Grief Narrated: The Contemporary Grief Memoir
Simona Corso


Visualizing Mourning: The Legacy of Roland Barthes’s La Chambre Claire
Adina Stroia


Ecological Mourning: From Elegy to Expanded Grief
Florian Mussgnug


Epilogue: ‘Grief — A Work in Progress’
Zoe Papadopoulou


Bibliography entry:

Corso, Simona, Florian Mussgnug, and Jennifer Rushworth (eds), Dwelling on Grief: Narratives of Mourning Across Time and Forms, Transcript, 22 (Legenda, 2022)

First footnote reference: 35 Dwelling on Grief: Narratives of Mourning Across Time and Forms, ed. by Simona Corso, Florian Mussgnug, and Jennifer Rushworth, Transcript, 22 (Legenda, 2022), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Corso, Mussgnug, and Rushworth, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Corso, Simona, Florian Mussgnug, and Jennifer Rushworth (eds). 2022. Dwelling on Grief: Narratives of Mourning Across Time and Forms, Transcript, 22 (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Corso, Mussgnug, and Rushworth 2022: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Corso, Mussgnug, and Rushworth 2022: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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