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Diana at Her Bath/The Women of Rome [Paperback]

Pierre Klossowski , Stephen Sartarelli , Sophie Hawkes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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5.0 out of 5 stars lovely theophanies! Dec 1 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Klossowski invents an entire theological vocabulary for voyeurism in this book. It is so wondrous, and so batty, that few will enter this book with the wherewithal to finish it.
Klossowski's work is founded on the problem of the image. In Old Testament texts the image is banned, but the new testament via Luther, re-sacralizes it.
Klossowski is in-between, struggling with the heavy weight placed on the image. He creates a kind of sacred pornography (his brother was the infamous child porn painter Balthus).
The taboo is sacred, breaking the taboo leads us into the divine. The logic of this text is that Acteon, a sinner, becomes sacred through being torn apart by his breaking of the taboo surrounding the perception of the image of Diana, goddess of shame. Actaeon's shamelessness leads to his own exposure, and subsequent dismantling at the paws of his hunds.
Ha ha.
It's better in French. There's a cushion beneath the words in his original tongue that isn't here in the rather matter of fact and rather worldly English.
The Women of Rome sketch is the foundation, I believe, for all of Foucault's studies of Sex in Antiquity. Klossowski was a genius. Foucault a colonizer, a settler, a ham-fisted twit, who had not one-tenth of Klossowski's brilliance, but was much better at putting in stakes with his name on them. Klossowski was there first, but only for his own curiosity and interest, rather than to colonize and capitalize, which was what Foucault had in mind.
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely theophanies! Dec 1 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Klossowski invents an entire theological vocabulary for voyeurism in this book. It is so wondrous, and so batty, that few will enter this book with the wherewithal to finish it.
Klossowski's work is founded on the problem of the image. In Old Testament texts the image is banned, but the new testament via Luther, re-sacralizes it.
Klossowski is in-between, struggling with the heavy weight placed on the image. He creates a kind of sacred pornography (his brother was the infamous child porn painter Balthus).
The taboo is sacred, breaking the taboo leads us into the divine. The logic of this text is that Acteon, a sinner, becomes sacred through being torn apart by his breaking of the taboo surrounding the perception of the image of Diana, goddess of shame. Actaeon's shamelessness leads to his own exposure, and subsequent dismantling at the paws of his hunds.
Ha ha.
It's better in French. There's a cushion beneath the words in his original tongue that isn't here in the rather matter of fact and rather worldly English.
The Women of Rome sketch is the foundation, I believe, for all of Foucault's studies of Sex in Antiquity. Klossowski was a genius. Foucault a colonizer, a settler, a ham-fisted twit, who had not one-tenth of Klossowski's brilliance, but was much better at putting in stakes with his name on them. Klossowski was there first, but only for his own curiosity and interest, rather than to colonize and capitalize, which was what Foucault had in mind.
4.0 out of 5 stars twisted entertainment is an old tradition March 9 2014
By Bruce P. Barten - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Christianity appealed to some people when official religion was cluttered with the kind of feelings that get the full treatment from a French intellectual who knows what Nietzsche meant about some things way beyond the social reality common to people trying to be polite. I have been called confused by the kind of people who won't like this book.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Hunter stalks the Huntress Sept. 20 2007
By John L Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
These two texts follow "Roberte Ce Soir & The Evocation of the Edict of Nantes" as intellectual exercises, couched less as fiction and more as essays in "Diana," and as a learned set of brief notes as "Women" The preface that illuminates the Huntress and the Hunter by Michel Foucault on "The Moment of Acteon" is perversely, included in the latter novel "The Baphomet." Well-written and easier to understand than perhaps Klossowski in his many recondite moments, Foucault's essay, however, seems oddly placed. It should have been introducing this other book--the one on Diana! Klossowski does appear to have "inspired" as a classicist many of the ideas that Foucault popularized in his later incomplete series on the "history of sexuality." Perhaps this "borrowing" of so many of his ideas on the moment of surrender, suspension, and seduction-- expanded by his even bolder colleague-- is why in his later years Klossowski left writing behind for painting?

The recounting of the Ovid encounters is eloquently, if for me overwhelmingly, retold in "Diana." A translator of Vergil, Klossowski's ability to plumb the intricacies of Ovid and the Latin poetics reveal a careful scholar as well as an adventurous adept. I cannot say the book succeeds as its own totally engrossing or assuredly mimetic fiction, but in the spirit of Barthes, this compilation works well enough, if rather tediously for my less refined tastes. "Women of Rome" contrasts the erotic staging with the liberated sexuality of the classical tableaux dramatized. Critical notes grace both editions; "The Women" itself is more an excursus or series of appendices than its own full-fledged, extended text.

Klossowski's method often appears to me scattershot, with rare moments of insight couched in overly mannered prose stylized in the fashion of French philosophical speculation, scholastic terminology borrowed from Catholic medieval erudition, and sporadic episodes of brief erotic grappling. I cannot imagine that there are many readers sufficiently educated in the nuances of all three discourses. But Klossowski, ex-Dominican seminarian, student of Bataille, mentored by Gide, and explicator of Sade and Nietzsche, is the one writer who'd search for and reward perhaps this rarified audience.
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