Body Work: Objects of Desire in Modern Narrative

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9780674077256: Body Work: Objects of Desire in Modern Narrative
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Uncovering the body in order to know it has been the quest of narrative since the 18th century. In this tour through art and literature - from Rousseau, Flaubert, and Manet at the origins of modernism to Duras and Mapplethorpe in our own time - Peter Brooks sees the dynamic of narrative as propelled by desire to expose truth that can be found inscribed in the flesh. Animating the modern imagination we find a drive to bring the body into language, and to write stories on the body. Discussing dozens of the most familiar stories and images of modernism - including the retold myth of Pygmalion and Galatea, Gauguin's Tahitian nudes, Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein", Zola's "Nana", Manet's "Olympia", George Eliot's "Daniel Deronda", Henry James's "The Sacred Fount", Kafka's penal colony, and the homoerotic photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe - Brooks describes how narrative works as a striptease, a progressive unveiling that promises revelation in carnal knowledge. Illustrated throughout, "Body Work" weaves its examples of carnal intrigue on a framework of anthropological, literary, and psychoanalytic theory. Why, Brooks asks, is curiosity so relentlessly directed at the female body? How does the body provide the building blocks of symbolism, and eventually of language itself? Is all desire essentially longing for the absent mother's body? What are voyeurism, privacy, pornography? Theorists from Melanie Klein to Georges Bataille inform Brooks's exploration of these and other pressing questions. Brooks attempts to uncover how and why the female body has become the field upon which the aspirations, anxieties, and contradictions of a whole society are played out. He aims to show us modernism, and our postmodern selves, afresh.

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9780674077249: Body Work: Objects of Desire in Modern Narrative

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ISBN 10:  0674077245 ISBN 13:  9780674077249
Publisher: Harvard University Press, 1993
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