Word of the Day : October 3, 2018
1 often capitalized Weltschmerz : mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state
2 often capitalized Weltschmerz : a mood of sentimental sadness
Did You Know?
The word weltschmerz initially came into being as a by-product of the European Romanticism movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. A combining of the German words for “world” (Welt) and “pain” (Schmerz), weltschmerz aptly captures the melancholy and pessimism that often characterized the artistic expressions of the era. The term was used in German by the Romantic author Jean Paul (pseudonym of Johann Paul Friedrich Richter) in his 1827 novel Selina, but it wasn’t adopted into English until the middle of the 19th century.
Carson found himself plunging into a state of Weltschmerz as he grew older and discovered that the world was much more complicated than he had envisioned as a youth.
“The mad narrator or central figure is in a world that may be experienced as confusing, grotesque or volatile; above all, it is private, closed in on itself, unavailable to outsiders.… The notion of insanity as a kind of extreme loneliness is good for a wallow in adolescent-romantic weltschmerz, if not much else.” — Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, 29 June 2018