The Flesh of Words: The Politics of Writing
This new collection of challenging literary studies plays with a foundational definition of Western culture: the word become flesh. But the word become flesh is not, or no longer, a theological already-given. It is a millennial goal or telos toward which each text strives.
Both witty and immensely erudite, Jacques Rancière leads the critical reader through a maze of arrivals toward the moment, perhaps always suspended, when the word finds its flesh. That is what he, a valiant and good-humored companion to these texts, goes questing for through seven essays examining a wide variety of familiar and unfamiliar works.
A text is always a commencement, the word setting out on its excursions through the implausible vicissitudes of narrative and the bizarre phantasmagorias of imagery, Don Quixote's unsent letter reaching us through generous Balzac, lovely Rimbaud, demonic Althusser. The word is on its way to an incarnation that always lies ahead of the writer and the reader both, in this anguished democracy of language where the word is always taking on its flesh.
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Althusser Althusserian answer Aristotle Balzac Bartleby basso continuo becomes body century character Charlus child Christian cloud concept contrasts Deleuze Deleuze's Don Quixote dotted lines dream Dulcinea elocutio encounter epic episode exemplary fable family novel father fiction figure Flaubert flesh formula fraternal gaze genres Gilles Deleuze give haecceities heart hero idea identified incarnation invention island journey labor power language letter liberty lips literary literature living logic lyric madness Mandelstam Marxists meaning metaphor mimesis modern movement narrative narrator nature night novel obscure misfortune Osip Mandelstam Phaedrus Plato play poem poet poetic poetry political principle Proust question reality relationship representation revolution Rimbaud Russian language Saint Saint-Loup Saint-Simonians Scripture secret sensory separation signifiers song soul space speaking speech story symbol symbolist takes tells theater theology things thought tion transforms truth utopia utterance Veronique voice woman words writing young