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Melancholy and the Critique of Modernity examines the connections between the emergence of modern society and the experience of melancholy. The idea of "sadness without a cause" has played an important part in human self-understanding throughout the development of Western society. But with the emergence of modernity melancholy has become its most pervasive and significant experience. The affinity between melancholy and modernity is examined through a comprehensive re-examination of the writings of Soren Kierkegaard. The whole range of Kierkegaard's work is set in the context of a social and historical theory of melancholy. From this perspective Kierkegaard emerges as the most important, and the most typical, psychologist of the modern era. The book makes Kierkegaard's rich and insightful writings accessible to a new audience and establishes him as a central figure for contemporary debates on the nature of modernity.