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- Corpus II
In this outstanding new collection, philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy takes up his perennial themes—community, embodiment, being-with, literature, politics, sense, and meaning—as part of a deep and mature appreciation of the fact that we are richly, joyfully, and thoroughly sexual beings.
In a concise but extremely important essay, “The ‘There Is’ of the Sexual Relation,” Nancy responds to Lacan’s dictum that “there is no sexual relation” and makes a radical argument for the central place of the sexual relation as our originary mode of being with one another. “The Birth of Breasts” is a beautiful reflection on human anatomy and the image and reality of the breast that draws on literature and poetry from Sappho to Beckett.
In “Strange Foreign Bodies,” Nancy revisits the philosophical territory of the relation between mind or spirit and body but reminds us that bodies are at once familiar to us and also irredeemably strange. “The Body of Pleasure” explores the body as the site of essentially finite pleasure, “finite because it reaches the end, the limit where the body tends to lose all form, becomes matter, an impenetrable mass. But this end also forms the touch of the outside and with it the joy of the world.”
Finally, “The Sexual Relation—and Then” builds on the insight into the central place of the sexual relation by considering specifically the generative possibilities of sex and the fact that we all came to be as the product of sexual relations.
Nancy’s Corpus, published in English in 2008, was the philosopher’s most sustained consideration of embodiment to date. Now, in Corpus II, he carries that work in new directions which constantly remind us that human bodies are sexed and sexual bodies.
Jean-Luc Nancy is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Universite Marc Bloch, Strasbourg, as well as a respected commentator on art and culture. His wide-ranging thought is developed in many books, including Listening; Noli me Tangere: On the Raising of the Body; Corpus; and Corpus II: Writings on Sexuality, all published by Fordham University Press.
Anne O’Byrne is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the State University of NewYork, Stony Brook, where she works on twentieth century and contemporary European philosophy. Professor O’Byrne also maintains an interest in Irish Studies and has written philosophical work concerning the functioning of sovereignty in Northern Ireland and the inheritance of the Irish language. She is the author of Natality and Finitude (Indiana University Press, 2010) and the translator of Jean- Luc Nancy’s Corpus II (Fordham University Press, 2013).
Rich, powerful, and stunningly original.”—François Raffoul, Louisiana State University
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