Rebecca Comay






St. George,

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  • BA, Philosophy and Ancient Languages, University of Toronto
  • MA, Egyptology and Assyriology, Yale University
  • PhD, Philosophy, University of Toronto

Rachel Comay is Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature and Director of the Program in Literary Studies. Her research interests include Hegel and 19th century German philosophy; Marx and Marxism; Benjamin and Adorno; political theology; psychoanalysis; contemporary French philosophy; trauma and memory; iconoclasm and destruction of art; contemporary art and art criticism; Proust.

For more information on current research (including links to documents), see Prof. Comay’s page.

Research Interests:

Aesthetics, Continental Philosophy



  • Mourning Sickness: Hegel and the French Revolution (Stanford 2011)
  • Lost in the Archives (editor) (2002)
  • Endings: Questions of Memory in Hegel and Heidegger (coeditor with John McCumber)  (1999)

Selected articles

  • “Hegel’s Last Words: Mourning and Melancholia at the end of the Phenomenology,” in J. Nichols and A. Swiffen, eds., The Ends of History ( 2012)
  • “Proust’s Remains,” in October 144 (2013)
  • “Transmission, Translation, Trauma,” in Idealistic Studies (2008)
  • “Impressions: Proust, Photography, Trauma,” in Discourse (2009)
  • “Adorno avec Sade,” in differences, special issue on critical theory and gender, ed Wendy Brown (2006)
  • “The sickness of tradition: Benjamin between melancholia and fetishism” in Walter Benjamin StudiesBenjamin’s Philosophy of History (2006)
  • “Materialist Mutations of the Bilderverbot,” in  Walter Benjamin Studies: Benjamin and Art  (2005)
  • “Dead Right: Hegel and the Terror,” in South Atlantic Quarterly (2004)
  • “Benjamin and the Ambiguities of Romanticism” in Cambridge Companion to Walter Benjamin, ed. David Ferris (2004)
  • “Memory Block: Rachel Whiteread’s Holocaust Memorial Project,” in S. Hornstein and F. Jacobowitz, Image and Remembrance: Questions about Representation and the Holocaust (2002)
  • “Adorno’s Siren Song,” in New German Critique (2001)
  • “Facies Hippocratica,” in Adriaan Peperzak, ed., Ethics as First Philosophy: The Thought of Emmanuel Levinas (1995)
  • “Gifts without Presents: Economies of ‘Experience’ in Bataille and Heidegger,” Yale French Studies 78 (1990)


Northrop Frye Centre, (room 317), Victoria College, 73 Queen's Park Crescent, Toronto, ON M5S 1K7