chapter  14
10 Pages

Liminality

Melancholy inhabits the liminal, the times and spaces of transition, threshold places. Anthropologist Victor Turner theorised liminality as core to developmental stages, especially in the context of rites of passage in tribal culture. Moving through each of the stages of life involves a period of transition – a liminal phase – when an individual is ‘betwixt and between’ the more de nite phases either side. As a type of cultural limbo, liminality in time and space expresses an inde nite character, a suspension of certainty. Turner wrote: ‘Liminality is frequently likened to death, to being in the womb, to invisibility, to darkness, to bisexuality, to the wilderness, and to an eclipse of the sun or moon’ (Turner, 1969, p.95).