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Poisoned Cornucopia

Excess, Intemperance and Overabundance across Cultures and Literatures


Edited By Ryszard Wolny and Stankomir Nicieja

This volume explores the notions of excess, intemperance and overabundance in cultures and literatures of both the English- and Chinese-speaking worlds. It concentrates on some aspects of literary and cultural meanings of excess(es) in various theories and practices of these antipodean territories of human experience and consciousnesses, bringing together what is common between them and what sets the West apart from the East: eroticism, drug abuse, alcoholism, urban concepts, music, food, etc. In times of a serious crisis of Western-style capitalism, growing consumerism and the collapse of traditional values, the eyes of the world are now turned to the East, seeking solutions in China, Taiwan, Singapore or Hong Kong for what may come as Eastern-style neopostmodernism.
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Eroticism: Its Excesses and Deadly Masks in Contemporary Consumer Societies


← 152 | 153 → Ryszard W. WolnyUniversity of Opole

Contemporary capitalist societies are fundamentally and predominately consumer societies, the aim of which is first to generate a need and then to offer a variety of ways of satisfying it. With eroticism the problem is more complex. For long, eroticism has been considered a taboo in Western societies and largely confined to private spheres. Yet, in the times of rapidly developing consumerism in contemporary capitalist societies, both in the West and East, it also became a commodity for sale:

Consumer wants can have bizarre, frivolous, or even immoral origins, and an admirable case can still be made for a society that seeks to satisfy them. But the case cannot stand if it is the process of satisfying wants that creates the wants. (Galbraith ch. 11, sect. 2)

Stemming from Georges Bataille’s renowned formula that eroticism is assenting to life to the point of death, this paper tries to explore various aspects of eroticism that go well beyond the realm of sexuality and uncover eroticism’s multifarious excesses in contemporary consumer societies alongside deadly masks it often wears.

Erotic excesses

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