La vie crumble (Romans contemporains) (French Edition)

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Gazette de Candyshy #123 - Romance & Contemporain

Extending the discussion of plurality and the plurality of worlds, the third chapter is devoted to the notion of community as a politically active force of resistance. Having addressed the notion of crowd, Nancy turns to discuss the notion of mass:. What we lack today, indeed what is lost , as Nancy points out, is the self-interpretation of society in terms of a conflict. And notwithstanding the fact that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, Marxist vocabulary is obsolete. We no longer hear about class struggle and exploitation. Instead we are caught in the mechanism of Capitalism, which provides the language of self-interpretation.

Work and Leisure in Late Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Visual Culture | SpringerLink

This language is that of consumption and accumulation: of consensus rather than dissensus. In these circumstances, there is no longer any distance between the crowd and Capitalist logic. This marks the wholesale loss of dissensus.

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Today everything is commodified: art, nature, universities—even the human being. This chapter recently received critical attention in the collection of essays What is a People? This act of self-declaration was unprecedented:. It was in this self-declaration of the French people at that time of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and of the Citizen that the Revolution began.


The fifth chapter deals with the question of political affects, which Nancy briefly touched upon in the third chapter. From the outset, Nancy dismisses what might have been the obvious answer to the first question, namely that political affects are essentially fear and terror, which one would normally associate with power relations. Rather, the contrary is true: force must exhibit a sense of amiability so that one can trust the sovereign. This ensures a persistent, uninterrupted flow of power. However, despite the intimate connection between sovereignty and affect, in the era of the modern state we witness the disappearance of affect:.

Apart from the historical analysis of the dynamic between Church and state, it is noteworthy that, for Nancy, the question of affectivity holds an ontological significance, particularly in pertaining to the being-with of each of us. Contra both the common-sense and philosophical understanding of touch as the sense of proximity by opposition to the senses of sight, smell and hearing, which can sense at a distance , Nancy insists that in touching, what is touched always remains outside of what touches it, so that the law of touch is not so much proximity as separation.

The discussion revolves around two axes: first, the implication of taking a theological term and using it in a non-theological context, and second, the question of the sacred. Nancy recalls approaching Granel:. Can we leave the theological behind?

Is it the complete transfer of the same content but in another context? If one takes a fish and puts it in a dry place, it can no longer live. Is it a metaphorical displacement? But then what does metaphor signify if one takes an element out of religion, it may no longer have a sense. More simply, can one hold on to the term kenosis outside the context of creation and incarnation?

Addressing the second part of the question, Nancy turns to discuss the notion of sacrifice and its relation to the sacred. Christianity, in its beginning was considered by many to be a philosophy, he claims. One attempt to form a bond with the sacred occurs in sacrifice, which as a matter of fact does belong to religion, in one form or another. Where sacrifice ceases, so does religion. Is Christian behavior tenable as something that completely abstains from any relationship with the sacred?

Given our over-scientific technological world:. This good and beautiful order, as it was thought about from the perspective of Europe or the United States, usually presented itself in the form of the nation-state. Besides, at the time of World War I, this order of the City […] began to crumble. This is not to say that art is merely about intensifying sensations, but instead that art first and foremost has to do with the discovery that our sensibility does not merely serve epistemological purposes—the sensible component in the acquisition of knowledge and cognition—but rather we can use our sensibility and our senses in ways that exceed cognition and induce pleasure.

It is here where sensibility departs from its cognitive function—from its contribution to the cognition of an object, as Kant would have put it in the third Critique. Owing to this, the path to discovering a different aspect of sensibility is opened. Thus, in departing from its representational vocation, art is freed to explore its own medium, and to make visible its own materiality. Jandin begins by placing the topic in context:. In other words, has the moment come for carrying out a displacement of our thought, from a problem of time to a problem of space?

It is an original unfolding of spatiality that is exposed only temporally. As such being itself, presence, is always in movement which cannot be suspended:. The female lover implores for the suspension of time, for spacing instead of the haste of successive moments, which end up nullifying the present moment. But this wish is of course in vain. Ontologically coming and going, into presence and out of presence, is one and the same movement. If the standing of Being in the Open is temporal rather than static or permanent then what emerges into presence is at the same time in the movement of departing from presence.

This is the temporality of Dasein as opposed to the two other types of entity Heidegger defines in Being and Time that have a different existence in time:. But in this metaphysics, presence is actually considered to be something thrown on the shores of the river of time and that remains there in a sort of abandoned immobility.

But one could say just as well that presence in this sense, even with the distinction between the two nuances, is not present at all or is present only for the existent that has it at its disposal. Jandin introduces the topic by questioning:. Against the prominence of logos, Nancy claims, Christianity appeared with the theme of joy, particularly through participation in the divine, thereby fulfilling a need that was sought.

Once sexuality is dissociated from the aim of reproduction, once it is determined by the logic of the drive and its modes of representation rather than biologically driven, satisfaction is achieved through multiple fragmented erogenous multiple zones. Just as in Freud, for whom the sexual drive, which although originally attaching itself to one of the somatic functions of the body can then exceed this function e.

Robert D. Richardson and Anne E. However, her death leads directly to the answer to his question—his father was a young German who died in the First World War. In the army. The circle in which my father fell" As I noted earlier, his masterpiece, Famous Last Words , confronts the ethical challenges and nightmare realities of that war. But there are other works in which Findley tackles aspects of this war and wrestles with its horror, its immorality and corruption, and its destruction.

The finest of these texts is the story "Stones," which I will consider briefly, but another story, "The Madonna of the Cherry Trees," is also worth attention. Unlike the home-front novella You Went Away , these two stories are set partly "Stones" and entirely "Madonna" in France. After that trip, he returned on at least two occasions to better reflect upon the history of the town. Like anyone surveying those beaches today, he was struck by the sheer difficulty of walking on them never mind being under enemy fire and weighed down with gear and by the many reddish-coloured stones scattered amongst the rocks Figure 9.

Beyond the historical event itself or later attempts to understand, rationalize, or excuse it, however, Findley came to see in Dieppe a symbol of the long-term destruction of war and the insidious ways in which the resultant trauma reached into the homes and lives of those in Canada to haunt survivors and the next generation. In the story "Stones" it is this haunting and damage to a family and its children that he explores. The result is a beautifully crafted narrative that leaves the reader feeling haunted, not only by a past event but also by the lasting impact of trauma and what such trauma portends for the future.

The distance provided by the memory structure of the narration creates a crucial space for reflection, ethical perspective, historical contextualization impossible for a story told by a child , and finally a sense of reconciliation. The family in the story resembles the Findleys in certain ways: they live in Rosedale; they walk streets familiar to Findley from his childhood; and the returned soldier and father bears some resemblance to Allan Findley. David Max refused to leave his landing craft when the men under his command had to do so; he froze while all around him Canadian soldiers drowned or died on the rocky beach.

He was rescued, taken back to England, and returned to Toronto in disgrace. He knows, as do those few who survived, that he betrayed his men at Dieppe through cowardice. When another Dieppe veteran tracks him down and throws a brick through the window of the family business, he must admit his guilt to his family and himself: "On the brick, a single word was printed in yellow chalk: Murderer " It is the son who confesses that "on the 19 th of August, , the raid on Dieppe had taken place—and the consequent carnage had cost the lives of over a thousand Canadians [ My father never left his landing craft" While this shocking confession helps the reader to understand what happened to the father and why he disintegrated into a violent alcoholic, the story does not end on that note.

The stones at Dieppe are mostly flint—and their colours range from white through yellow to red. The red stones look as if they have been washed in blood [ I hunkered down above them, holding all that remained of my father in my fist. He is dead and gone. This ritual of return to a sacred site with the ashes of the dead conveys, I believe, a profound sense of ethical and emotional justice, even a sense of reparation and reconciliation.

Both the man and the place live on by haunting the present in the scattering of ashes and the future when we read the story. The trauma that yanked him out of time and his place within a family is not forgiven or forgotten.


Instead, it has been faced, accepted, and to some small degree assuaged through the power of storytelling. I say appears to be because the name he gives his fictional town is Villeverger an ancient town surrounded by cherry orchards , but the description of the town and its magnificent cathedral closely resembles Pau.

As the story unfolds, however, they and we realize that such traces can never be removed entirely from our lives—nor should they be. Shortly after their arrival in town, the sudden deaths occur of three elderly women being cared for in the hospital. No one can explain these deaths, but they begin to trouble the otherwise simple lives of the Vergerine sisters. The coroner from Toulouse is called in; an investigation gets underway; and before long ghosts from the past surface to shatter the seemingly serene and innocent present.

Cristobel is a survivor of this terrible period in French history. Born to a Jewish woman who had been raped in the camp, Cristobel has never spoken, and so it must be Rosa, the Catalan survivor who rescued the child, who returns to peaceful Villeverger to exact revenge by murdering the three former camp guards.

But of course, they must recognize, as must the reader, that not knowing about evil or standing by while atrocities take place, does not absolve anyone. This generous act is, in itself, a sign of atonement, but there is no indication in the story that the Jewish woman, now over fifty years old, will ever speak.