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FlirtationsRhetoric and Aesthetics This Side of Seduction$
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Daniel Hoffman-Schwartz, Barbara Natalie Nagel, and Lauren Shizuko Stone

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264896

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264896.001.0001

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Wartime Love Affairs and Deathly Flirtation

Wartime Love Affairs and Deathly Flirtation

Freud And Caillois on Identifying With Loss

Chapter:
(p.116) Wartime Love Affairs and Deathly Flirtation
Source:
Flirtations
Author(s):

Sage Anderson

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823264896.003.0014

This chapter presents a response to John Hamilton’s contribution “The Luxury of Self-Destruction: Flirting with Mimesis with Roger Caillois.” It interrogates the indirect relationship between flirtation and mimesis in Freud, Plato, and Bataille while simultaneously pursuing the alluring suggestion of an alternative aesthetics in the work of Caillois. It argues that the opposition between flirtation and seduction stands or falls with the status of mimesis. If imitation is a means of maintaining difference, then there is no danger in flirting; the object of representation, be it romantic partnership or death, will always remain at bay. If, on the other hand, mimicry equates to identification, then nothing even resembling seduction is safe. Yet the latter outcome may prove the more desirable, if also the more dangerous. With the disappointment of the illusion of self-preservation comes the opportunity to lose oneself to greater effect. When distinction yields to similarity, getting close is already getting together. By embracing the thought that there is no difference, one may find a more direct way to approach others, and in flirting with death, a less isolated way to live.

Keywords:   flirtation, mimesis, Sigmund Freud, Plato, Georges Bataille, Roger Caillois, seduction

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