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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

Chapter:
(p.221) Seven: Abstracting Desire
Source:
Human Remains
Author(s):

Jonathan Strauss

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823233793.003.0008

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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