transgression selection #8

>from "preface to transgression" in _language, counter-memory, practice_

Selection #8: Transgression, then, is not related to the limit as black to
white, the prohibited to the lawful, the outside to the inside, or as the
open area of a building to its enclosed spaces. Rather, their relationship
takes the form of a spiral which no simple infraction can exhaust. Perhaps
it is like a flash of lightning in the night which, from the beginning of
time, gives a dense and black intensity to the night it denies, which
lights up the night from the inside, from top to bottom, and yet owes to
the dark the stark clarity of its manifestation, its harrowing and poised
singularity; the flash loses itself in this space it marks with its
sovereignty and becomes silent now that it has given a name to obscurity.
(p. 35)

Selection #9: Since this existence [of the relation between transgression
and limit-jsr] is both so pure and so complicated, it must be detached
>from its questionable association to ethics if we want to understand it
and to begin thinking from it and in the space it denotes; it must be
liberated from the scandalous or subversive, that is, from anything
aroused by negative associations. Transgression does not seek to oppose
one thing to another, nor does it achieve its purpose through mockery or
by upsetting the solidity of foundations; it does not transform the other
side of the mirror, beyond an invisible and uncrossable line, into a
glittering expanse. Transgression is neither violence in a divided world
(in an ethical world) nor a victory over limits (in a dialectical or
revolutionary world); and exactly for this reason, its role is to measure
the excessive distance that it opens at the heart of the limit and to
trace the flashing line that causes the limit to arise. Transgression
contains nothing negative, but affirms limited being--affirms the
limitlessness into which it leaps as it opens this zone to existence
for the first time. (p. 35)

Lemert has this great article on postmodernism and irony in
_Postmodernism and Social Theory_, eds. Seidman and Wagner,
Blackwell, 1992. While there are many, many interesting things
to talk about concerning the above, one question I would have
on the basis of a comparison of Lemert's piece to the
transgression essay so far would be: "Is *irony* a good
example of the kind of transgressive approach F is
describing in the transgression essay?"

And one other question: "Is F trying to recouperate the
transcendent character of transgression or do we take
him at his word when he says 'Transgression does not
seek to oppose one thing to another . . . '"? Or do we
take him at his word when he says that "transgression
contains nothing negative, but affirms limited being"?


  • Re: transgression selection #8
    • From: John Ransom
  • Re: transgression selection #8
    • From: John Ransom
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