From: Stephane Charitos <scharits@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 1997 23:29:05 -0600 (CST)
>It may be that Foucault isn't really proposing a transgressive method,
>but rather a language of transgression. For example, he speaks of "the
>impossibility of attributing the millenary language of dialectics to the
>major experience that sexuality forms for us." It is possible, however,
>to speak of sexuality in the language of transgression because, as
>Foucault contends, the appearance of sexuality marks the transformation
>of man as worker into man as one who speaks.
>The language of transgression is a way of speaking of the way philosophy
>"experiences itself and its limits in language and in this transgression
>of language which carries it...to the faltering of the speaking
>subject." In short, a "communication with communication" rather than a
>philosophical method per se.
>Then again, it's been a while since I've sat down and read "Preface to
>Transgression" thoroughly. I just thought I'd flip through it and throw
>out what I could muster. It is quite likely I have no idea what I am
I think it is always necessary to remember when discussing the Preface to
Transgression the context within which it appeared: a special issue of
Critique dedicated to Georges Bataille who had just passed away.
It is against the backdrop of Bataille's texts that one must read the
Preface; as a kind of dialogue with Bataille's idea of the impossibility of
communication, or rather of the impossibility of a continuous
communication. For B. true communication can only be experienced as an
intense but fleeting moment at the limit of language (of organized
language), at the point where sense topples into nonsense, where language
(the language of sense) is so tortured that it parts and momentarily
reveals its unspeakable other, to the point where the conscience of the
thinking (and speaking) subject falters and imploses. To this fleeting
experience B. gave various names: laughter, tears, poetry, sacrifice,
eroticism...one can add if one wishes transgression to that list.
Within these limits one can talk of a *language* of transgression, or of a
philosophy of transgression if one understands by that a practice which
forces philosophy (or language) to acknowledge that which it cannot
acknowledge. One is reminded here of Sade who in "La Philosophie dans le
Boudoir" brings philosophy onto a terrain where it has to acknowledge and
coexist with its absolute opposite, pornography.