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Human RemainsMedicine, Death, and Desire in Nineteenth-Century Paris$
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Jonathan Strauss

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823233793

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823233793.001.0001

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: Abstracting Desire

: Abstracting Desire

(p.221) Seven: Abstracting Desire
Human Remains

Jonathan Strauss

Fordham University Press

In an attempt to formulate these aesthetic insights in more conceptual terms this chapter turns to the psychoanalytic theories of anality and the fantasm. Fantasms are characterized by a concern about origins, not merely of the individual but also of the city itself, especially insofar as it is imagined to be a space of reason and meaning. To trace the fantasmatic “history” of Paris, then, this chapter considers key definitions of the city as a rational space. From these myths of enlightenment there emerges an imaginary division between a viscous, sentient materiality of the dead and a pure, abstract sublimity of death. The modern city, in these myths, would be constructed on the basis of the latter in order to protect it against the former.

Keywords:   phantasm, Etienne-Gaspard Robertson, psychoanalysis, anal erotics, Jacques Lacan

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