Pacific Standard: The Era of Our Discontent – Power of American Angst

Weltschmerz is distinct from similar terms like ennui; it implies not only malaise but also the belief that the world could be better—hence the pain at its shortcomings.This would be an obscure point if not for this historical reality: intellectuals need an overarching project—lest they succumb to ennui. The Weltschmerz genre is an effort to transform the system—even if personal failings are sometimes also subsumed into a critique of the larger system.To put it differently, the personal eventually becomes political.

via The Era of Our Discontent: Power of American Angst – Pacific Standard: The Science of Society.