Group to read writings on melancholy

Melancholy is common among students, making it the perfect subject for a reading group, says Alan Davies.

The English department’s writer-in-residence for the fall 2011 semester, he is hosting the free public reading group The Course on Melancholy starting this evening — Monday, September 19.

“The course will focus on texts that express or discuss melancholy,” Davies says. “It gives students the opportunity to explore the relationship between literature and their own feelings.”

Among the works under discussion are Robert Burton's 1621 book The Anatomy of Melancholy, writings by psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Julia Kristeva, and poetry by Friedrich Holderlin, Giacomo Leopardi and Nelly Sachs. Consult the reading list on the English department Web site.

The readings are not mandatory; the group is open to anyone who wants to drop in, says Davies. The group will meet every second Monday starting September 19 and continuing October 3, 17 and 31, November 14 and 28, at 6 p.m. in the English seminar room, 2101 Chrysler Hall North.

Davies is a poet and essayist whose books include a an av es, Signage, Name, Active 24 Hours, Candor, Rave, “untitled” with M.M. Winterford, Sei Shonagon, and Don't Know Alan: Notes on AD with Miles Champion. Read his biography on the writer-in-residence Web site.