Show Less
Restricted access

The Indian Renouncer and Postmodern Poison

A Cross-Cultural Encounter


Carl Olson

In his essay on the pharmacy of Plato, Jacques Derrida discusses the ambivalence associated with the notion of pharmakon (drug, medicine, or poison) and its ability to either cure or destroy. By allowing the Indian renouncer and selected postmodern thinkers to share the medicine of each party in a cross-cultural exchange of ideas, this work will attempt to cure one's understanding about the several roles played by the renouncer as a stranger, hero figure, androgynous being, and victim of self-sacrificial violence. The Indian Renouncer and Postmodern Poison includes a look at the possibility of the renouncer assuming the roles of a masochistic or narcissistic figure. By examining the renouncer's way of life and the variety of roles that he can play, this work demonstrates how the renouncer transforms himself into a symbol of difference. Throughout this study, the theoretical work of selected postmodern thinkers (e.g., Derrida, Kristeva, Levinas, Deleuze, Bataille, Blanchot, and Foucault) are used to raise new questions about the Indian renouncer.