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Weltschmerz

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Title: Weltschmerz  
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Subject: Melancholia, Suffering, Sehnsucht, Angst, 19th-century Dutch literature
Collection: German Words and Phrases, Melancholia, Romanticism, Suffering, Words and Phrases with No Direct English Translation
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Weltschmerz

Weltschmerz (from the German, meaning world-pain or world-weariness, pronounced ) is a term coined by the German author Lord Byron, Giacomo Leopardi, François-René de Chateaubriand, Alfred de Musset, Nikolaus Lenau, Hermann Hesse, and Heinrich Heine. It is also used to denote the feeling of anxiety caused by the ills of the world.

Further examples

John Steinbeck wrote about this feeling in The Winter of Our Discontent and referred to it as the Welshrats; and in East of Eden, Samuel Hamilton feels it after meeting Cathy Trask for the first time. Ralph Ellison uses the term in Invisible Man with regard to the pathos inherent in the singing of spirituals: "beneath the swiftness of the hot tempo there was a slower tempo and a cave and I entered it and looked around and heard an old woman singing a spiritual as full of Weltschmerz as flamenco." Kurt Vonnegut references this feeling in his novel Player Piano; it is felt by Doctor Paul Proteus and his father. In Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, he describes an acquaintance, "Moldorf", who has prescriptions for Weltschmerz on scraps of paper in his pocket. In the field of Western popular

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