A Plea for Eros: Essays by Siri Hustvedt

By Siri Hustvedt

Publish yr note: First released 2005
From the writer of the overseas bestseller What I Loved, a provocative selection of autobiographical and significant essays approximately writing and writers.

Whether her topic is starting to be up in Minnesota, cross-dressing, or the unconventional, Hustvedt's nonfiction, like her fiction, defies effortless categorization, elegantly combining mind, emotion, wit, and fervour. With a gentle contact and consummate readability, she undresses the cultural prejudices that veil either literature and existence and explores the a number of personalities that unavoidably inhabit a writer's brain. Is it attainable for a lady within the 20th century to propose the corset, and even as method with authority what it's prefer to be a guy? Hustvedt does. Writing with rigorous honesty approximately her personal divided self, and the way this has formed her as a author, she additionally techniques the works of others--Fitzgerald, Dickens, and Henry James--with revelatory perception, and a practitioner's figuring out in their art.

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Extra resources for A Plea for Eros: Essays

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At all events, it seems clear that there is a kind of transference here; where van der Weyden’s depiction – and it is one representative of many others – formed itself into a tableau – not entirely unlike the tableaux of Christ’s birth, still replicated on millions of Advent calendars to this day – Michelangelo’s work represents a type of inwardness. Mary’s eyes are, of course, cast downward, and by being so they are cast upon the body of her dead son. But they are also, I suggest, cast inward.

1 It is redoubled because there is a sense in which we believe that no parent should ever be called upon to mourn the loss of his or her child. This is, always, part of our response to the casualties of conflict: when we mourn we like to emphasise that our mourning is for the ‘innocent’, for those who, for example, have been permitted no knowledge of what the conflict might have been about, for those who have died without meaning, without cause. In doing so, we naturally mourn our own selves, as though it were the case that we too might have died before we understood the ‘cause’ for which we were dying: in this sense, the common wider fiction is that all death is ‘unnatural’.

And therefore he is forced back upon a physical means of salvation, or damnation – the difference between the two is at this point indistinct. He needs to be taken away; but equally, he needs to be touched. Of course, Oedipus’s blindness has become, or engendered, a constant trope throughout the whole of western culture;18 but the need for the blind to depend on the sense of touch is perhaps a little less obvious. Oedipus wants, above all else, to be touched; the Chorus, representative, so we are assured and so we appear to continue to believe, perhaps we so need to, of all that is sane and reasonable in the Greek polity, cannot do this, they are scared of contamination, they cannot touch that which has been condemned by the gods; the biblical equivalent would be the terror of leprosy, in particular that interesting leper who cannot be celebrated, it seems, at Christmas: the leper ‘white as snow’.

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