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The Flesh in the Text

Thomas Baldwin, James Fowler and Shane Weller

The impetus behind this collection of essays was a curiosity shared by the editors concerning the relation between the flesh and the text in French and francophone literature. This curiosity took the form of a number of specific questions. For which writers has the flesh been a central concern? Might one distinguish between those writers who attempt to represent the flesh textually and those who emphasise the difficulty or even the impossibility of such a project? How is the subject’s relation to his/her own flesh, and to the flesh of others, determined? In which ways do psychoanalysis and other influential theoretical approaches such as phenomenology and deconstruction address the flesh as distinct from the body? These questions are explored here in readings of works by, among others, Rabelais, Diderot, Sade, Proust, Beckett, Djebar, Nothomb, Delvig and Nobécourt. The principal philosophers and theorists upon whom the contributors draw include Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze, Agamben, Nancy and Anzieu.
Contents: Thomas Baldwin/James Fowler/Shane Weller: Introduction – Rowan Tomlinson: The Limits of Textual Dissection: The Case of Quaresmeprenant in Rabelais’s Le Quart Livre – Pierre Saint-Amand : Les Corps oisifs : Paresse des Lumières – Will McMorran: The Palimpsestic Heroine: Sade’s Justine – James Fowler: ‘Mettons un peu d’ordre à ces orgies’: Bodies and Ideas in Sade’s La Philosophie dans le boudoir – Thomas Baldwin: Proust’s Eyes – Erika Fülöp: Becoming Body: Sleep and Writing in Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu – Jon Kear: In the Net of Brute Sense: The Body in Merleau-Ponty’s Aesthetics – Shane Weller: The Politics of Body Language: The Beckett Embrace – Ana de Medeiros: Mutilation and Liberation: Filial Relationships in Assia Djebar’s L’Amour, la fantasia – Katie Jones: Literature as Consumption and Expulsion: Amélie Nothomb’s ‘esthétique du vomissement’ – Jeremy Carrette: Foucault, Monks and Masturbation: The Ontology of Masculinity – Lucille Cairns: Dissidences charnelles: The Female Body in Revolt – Patrick Ffrench: Valdemar’s Tongue: Voice, Flesh and Death – Nigel Saint: ‘This Is My Body’: The Words of the Eucharist in the Work of Louis Marin and Jean-Luc Nancy – Naomi Segal: Living the Body Metaphors: Is the Lost Object an Imaginary Friend, a Phantom Limb or a Second Skin?