3.136 recommended book (42)

Sun, 18 Jun 89 20:14:49 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 136. Sunday, 18 Jun 1989.

Date: Sun, 18 Jun 89 16:57:59 IST
From: Daniel Boyarin <BOYARIN@TAUNIVM>
Subject: great book

I wish to highly recommend the following book for humanists,
The Politics and Poetics of Transgression, by Peter Stallybrass and
Allon White (Methuen 1986)

The following quote is an appetizer:
Sharing a house together led us, first, to fierce and deeply felt
intellectual disagreement about domestic filth (about which we
still hold principled and completeley incompatible views)
and thence to a wider discussion of the variety
and origins of bourgeois disgust. As each of us attempted
to legitimate his own spehere of domestic
negligence in definace of the bourgeois purity rituals so dear
to the other, the net was case wide for
supporting argument and evidence. Mikhail Bakhtin's
wonderful book on Rabelais and Carnival,...with its wealth of
information on the `lower bodily strata' threatened, at
one moment, to end the competition unfairly in favour of the first of us
to read it. But then the other, countering
smartly with Norbert Elias's...was able to demonstrate indisputable
cultural precedence for his curious
indifference to the abhorrence in which the middling sort seem
to hold aspects of their own bodies. From there it was but a small
step to Mary Doublas's...and by this time intellecutal curiousity
about the production of identity and status
through a repudiation of the `low' had roused us to joint authorship."

Sorry for the typos. It's one of the great works of cultural history
I've read in a long time. It is very sad that Allon White died last year
at quite a young age I understand and at the height of his powers.