Person – Subject – Organism- An Overview of Interdisciplinary Insights
Edited By Anton Vydra
Cruelty and Melancholy: The Stones of Roger Caillois
The essay compares the conceptions of reverie of Gaston Bachelard and Roger Caillois in his texts about stones. Caillois in contrast with Bachelard doesn’t emphasize the separation of rationality and reverie, rather he considers the latter as a continuation of ratiocination. One of the central analogies between both authors is the influence of the object upon the dreaming self. Bachelard speaks about an “infusion of being” by the image/object. It is possible to describe this determination of the self by the object along a scale of affectional states which are not only attributes of the one Self but create multiple Selves. There are two important affectional stances in Caillois’s reveries: meditation transcending human time, in which consciousness escapes from the body and is cast back into it afterwards; and the body as it instrumentally acts upon the stones, removing them from their original hiddenness—cutting, grinding, polishing, which are all attempts to penetrate and intrude upon the stone. The shapes and designs of the stones seem in this respect to be structures to which man always contributes even though he is not their creator. On the level of inevitable interaction between man and stones, Caillois arrives at a “diagonal” analogy, accompanied by the harmonization of “elevated melancholy” (Ficino, Starobinski).
Keywords: Stones: Description and Aesthetics, Stones and Man, Stones and Myth, Melancholy, Roger Caillois, Gaston Bachelard
In December 1934, not long after leaving Czechoslovakia,...
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