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.