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Disgust
Theory and History of a Strong Sensation
Disgust
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Winfried Menninghaus - Author
Howard Eiland - Translator
Joel Golb - Translator
SUNY series, Intersections: Philosophy and Critical Theory
Price: $57.50 
Hardcover - 480 pages
Release Date: October 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5831-8
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5831-0

Quantity:  
Price: $33.95 
Paperback - 480 pages
Release Date: October 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5832-6
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5832-7

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Examines this forceful emotion from philosophical, literary, and art historical perspectives.

"Disgust satiates." — Kant

"Writers only talk stench." — Kafka

"Disgust is the very fundament of social communication." — Bataille

Disgust (Ekel, dégoût) is a state of high alert. It acutely says "no" to a variety of phenomena that seemingly threaten the integrity of the self, if not its very existence. A counterpart to the feelings of appetite, desire, and love, it allows at the same time for an acting out of hidden impulses and libidinal drives.

In Disgust, Winfried Menninghaus provides a comprehensive account of the significance of this forceful emotion in philosophy, aesthetics, literature, the arts, psychoanalysis, and theory of culture from the eighteenth century to the present. Topics addressed include the role of disgust as both a cognitive and moral organon in Kant and Nietzsche; the history of the imagination of the rotting corpse; the counter-cathexis of the disgusting in Romantic poetics and its modernist appeal ever since; the affinities of disgust and laughter and the analogies of vomiting and writing; the foundation of Freudian psychoanalysis in a theory of disgusting pleasures and practices; the association of disgusting "otherness" with truth and the trans-symbolic "real" in Bataille, Sartre, and Kristeva; Kafka's self-representation as an "Angel" of disgusting smells and acts, concealed in a writerly stance of uncompromising "purity"; and recent debates on "Abject Art."

"This absorbing study represents the first systematic and historically comprehensive attempt to think through the perplexing status of 'disgust' as a notion in aesthetics, philosophy, and literature from the eighteenth century to the present. A fascinating read." — Rodolphe Gasché, coeditor of Literary Philosophers: Borges, Calvino, Eco

Winfried Menninghaus is Professor of Comparative Literature at the Free University, Berlin, and Visiting Professor at Yale University. He is the author of many books, including In Praise of Nonsense: Kant and Bluebeard.


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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: BETWEEN VOMITING AND LAUGHING.
BASE LINES OF A PHILOSOPHY OF DISGUST

Exposition / Subject Matter and Objectives of the Present Study / Aurel Kolnai, "Der Ekel" (Disgust) / Democracy as Source of Disgust: William Ian Miller's The Anatomy of Disgust

1. THE DISGUST TABOO, AND THE OMNIPRESENCE OF DISGUST IN AESTHETIC THEORY

The Beautiful as Vomitive / Aesthetic Infinity as Antivomitive / "Mixed Sensations" and the Exception of Disgust / Pleasure and Displeasure / The "Darkest of all the Senses" and the Collapse of Aesthetic Illusion in Disgust / Semanticized and "Crude" Disgust

2. DISGUSTING ZONES AND DISGUSTING TIMES: THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE IDEALLY BEAUTIFUL BODY

The Ideal Skin and Disgust at Folds and Wrinkles, Layers of Cartilage and Fat / Disgusting Depths and the Body's Openings / Forever young / The Gaping Mouth / Nose-Disgust and the "Greek Profile" / The "Flattened Ear" / "Disgusting Breasts" and Ideal "Hills" / Invisibility, Unseen Nakedness, and "Wetted Garments" / A Body "Without a Belly" / The "Spare Behind" / Excision, Castration, Hermaphroditization: the Phallus in the Field of the Beautiful / The "Hypergigantic" Sex of the "Colossal Woman" / Wounds, Dismembered Limbs, Flayed Skin: The Body as a "Disgusting Thing" / Beautiful Death and Disgusting Decay / The Ugly Old Lady / Repression or Differentiation? / Disgust, Purity, and Impurity in the Aesthetic

3. "STRONG VITAL SENSATION" AND ORGANON OF PHILOSOPHY: THE JUDGMENT OF DISGUST IN KANT

Disgust and Pleasure / Disgust as a Goal of Education / Smell, Taste, and the "Vital Sensation" of Disgust / Disgust, Laughter, and "Dark Conceptions" / Disgust as an Organon of Intellectual Critique / Disgust as Organon of Practical Action / Disgust, Happiness and Unhappiness, Ennui

4. POETRY OF PUTREFACTION: "BEAUTIFUL DISGUST" AND THE PATHOLOGY OF THE "ROMANTIC"

Classical Disgust and the Basic Alterations of the Aesthetic Field around 1800 / The Disgusting as Stimulus-Increase and Recipe of Modern "Shock"-Aesthetics / The License of "Disgusting Impotence" and the Decay of the Negative Principle / Disgusting Souls, Disgusting Times, and the Art of the Disgusting: The "Romantic" Ubiquity of the Once-Tabood / Rosenkranz on the Disgusting (1): Putrefaction as an "Inverse Becoming of the Already Dead" / Baudelaire's Poem "Une charogne" / Rosenkranz on the Disgusting (2): The Return of Indigestibility in the System of Dialectic Appropriation

5. THE "NO" OF DISGUST AND NIETZSCHE'S "TRAGEDY" OF KNOWLEDGE

Plato, Jesus, and Morals as World-Historical Agents of Disgust / "Ressentiment" and Weakness as Catalysts of Modern "Moralizing"--The Disgusting Mixture of Lies and Innocence / "Mollycoddling" as Disgust at one's own Cruelty / The Disgusting Body and Nietzsche's Physiology / "Great Disgust" and Contemporary Literature / Disgust and Cognition / Education for Disgust / Overcoming Disgust / Nietzsche Vetula

6. THE PSYCHOANALYSIS OF STINKING: LIBIDO, DISGUST, AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN FREUD

Interpretations of Disgust in Evolutionary Theory before Freud / Freud's Birth / Disgust, Aesthetic Culture, Antie-Aesthetic Libido / The Triumph of Libido: the "Perverse" Overcoming of Disgust / Perverse Father, Servant Girl, and Prostitute / Habemus Vetulam / Disgust and the Choice of Neurosis / Excretion as Prototype of Social Acts, and the Copro-Erotics of Language / "Disgusting Abuses," "Primeval Devil Worship," and the Equation of Analyst and Torturer / Art as Suspension of Disgust and Guiltless "Enjoyment" of the Rejected / Research on Disgust in Empirical Psychology after Freud

7. THE ANGEL OF DISGUST: KAFKA'S POETICS OF "INNOCENT" ENJOYMENT OF "SULPHUROUS" PLEASURES

7.1. Ugly Maidservants, Fat Old Whores, Sexual Disgust, and "Sulphurous" Obessions

Felice and Other Women with Un-Greek Noses, Skin Defects, and Bad Teeth / "Old Maids" / "I Want Only the Stout Older Ones" / Disgust with Conjugal Sexuality versus Pleasure in Disgusting Sex Outside of Marriage / "Innocence" and "You Must Possess Every Girl!" / "Dirty Fellow," Dancing and Swinging Pigs, Stinking Bitches and Self-Knowledge / Kafka the "Flabby Worm:" The Method of Making "Abominable Peculiarities" Invisible through the Form of Their Disclosure

7.2. The Transformation of the Abject into "Guiltless Enjoyment:" Writing as Devlish-Angelic "Deceiving without Deception"

7.3. Disgusting Sexuality in Kafka's Novels

Amerika, or the Trajectory of Male Innocence in the Realm of "Repellent" Female Practices / Loathsome Power and K.'s "Sexual Etiquette" in The Trial and The Castle

7.4. A Poetics of Eating and Vomiting

Broken Engagements and Disgust with Meat, Spoiled Old Food and Laxatives / On Hard Sausages and Filthy Breakfasts: Nutrition and Narration in Kafka's Amerika / Breakfast, Old Woman, and Arrest: The Opening Chapter of The Trial / Orgies of Flesh-Eating and Intoxication with Blood in Kafka's (Hunger) Stories

7.5. Incisions in Flesh and the Knife of Literature

Torture, Truth, and Disembowelled Pigs / "Like a Dog:" K.'s Execution as the Summa of Kafka's Knife-Poetics / The "Stupidity" of Torture

7.6. The Wound in the Text and the Text as Wound: The Story "A Country Doctor"

7.7. Beer-Drinking Hearse-Drivers and Cheerful Gravediggers

7.8. "Horrible Words" and Kafka's Physiology of Writing

8. Holy Disgust (Bataille) and the Sticky Jelly of Existence (Sartre)

Anti-Aesthetic of the "Formless:" Materialism of the Debased, Pollution of the Beautiful, Self-Mutilation, and the "Bliss" of Anal-Sadistic Ravages / Disgust Prohibitions and their Transgression as Societal "Core" and Stimulating Medium of Erotic Violence / "La Nausée: c'est moi"--Sartre's Elevation of Disgust to the Sole Authentic Experience of Existence

9. Abject Mother (Kristeva), Abject Art, and the Convergence of Disgust, Truth, and the Real

Repression, Repudiation, Abjection / Abject Mother, Symbolic Order, Desire / Abjection, Disgust, and Jouissance / Literature as (Perverse) Reclamation of the Abandoned / Rhythm, Laughing Apocalypse, Happy Guilt / Abject Pleasure, Disgust, Truth and the Real / Grand Narratives of the Heterogeneous / AIDS, Disgust, and Affirmative Abjection: On the Political Appropriation of Kristeva / The Academic Career of the "Abject" / Abject Art

NOTES

BIBLIOGRAPHY



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