This volume explores and challenges the extensive possible meanings and semantic connotations of the stain, including dirt, blood, dye, clue, symptom, shadow, smudge, memory, crack, trace and blindspot. The roles, functions, workings and unworkings of stains are interrogated across a range of disciplinary areas in French and Francophone literature and culture. The collection provides a theoretical framework for the significance of the stain in interpretation across a wide range of disciplines as well as offering close readings of films, photographs, paintings and literary texts in which the figure of the stain appears. In this respect, the following key notions are addressed and reconfigured: presence and absence, obscurity, visibility and legibility, form(lessness) and (non)representation, the (non)human and the animal, language and materiality, experience and knowledge, suffering and healing, remembering and forgetting. In parallel, the collection offers innovative readings of the work of key thinkers, examining how Barthes, Proust, Bataille, Camus and others engage with the topic of stains. This volume presents the stain as a powerful critical tool which complicates and contaminates historical, ethical, aesthetic and methodological boundaries. The essays celebrate the productive potential of the stain as an oblique means of accessing and uncovering significant and unexpected continuities and discontinuities.
About the Author
Zoe Angelis is a PhD candidate in the French Department and at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. Her doctoral project, entitled «The intersection of literature and reality in the works of Bataille and Blanchot», examines the question of what kind of real is addressed in writing (and how that might differ from more conventional representations of reality), as well as the question of writing’s own «being» (that is, the particularity of its mode of being, its peculiar reality/irreality).
Blake Gutt is a postdoctoral scholar with the Michigan Society of Fellows and an assistant professor in the department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. His PhD, completed in 2018 at the University of Cambridge, was entitled «Rhizomes, Parasites, Folds and Trees: Systems of Thought in Medieval French and Catalan Literary Texts». His current project examines representations of gender transition and transformation in medieval European literary texts through the lens of modern transgender theory.
Table of Contents
CONTENTS: Zoe Angelis/Blake Gutt: Introduction: The stain and/as human; the stain and/as art – Pierre Bayard: Shakespeare s’est trompé. La tache aveugle au théâtre – Nicolas Estournel: Punctuation as the mark of experience: Or, how Barthesian photography has a point – Elizabeth Woodward: L’image absolue: Autobiography and photography in Marguerite Duras’s L’Amant – Jules O’Dwyer: The cinematic Rorschach: Deciphering signs and stains with Michaux and Brakhage – Nina Ferrer-Gleize: Lacunes : pour une étude conjointe des formes noires dans les calotypes (1840–1860) et dans la poésie mallarméenne (fin XIXe s.) – Katarzyna Falęcka: Violent erasures: Atrocity, photographic archives, and the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962) – Laura McMahon: Franju’s animals: Stains, traces, histories – Marie Chabbert: The pure experience of impurity: Georges Bataille, a stain in/on the history of French thought – Kevin Kennedy: The aporias of matter: Bataille’s subjective stain and/at the origin of Žižek’s materialism – Rodolphe Gauthier: La représentation de l’abject chez Proust, Bataille, et Quignard – Lina Villate Torres: Taches de La Peste : domination et insoumission chez Camus – Sara Jeffar: Les taches du passé : du souvenir traumatique à la guérison de l’âme – Olivier Cadiot: Coda : Vis ma vie (suite) [extract].