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Esthetics of Intimacy, Esthétiques de l'intime: Introduction Elisabeth Arnould-Bloomfield and Suzanne R. Pucci IT MIGHT SEEM COUNTERINTUITIVE that an issue on intimacy (and its esthetics) could offer such an apparently disparate collection of essays. Intimacy—in its essential meaning of what is interior, profound, and secret—should call for, or so it seems, a closely related collection of texts: essays dealing perhaps with the comforts and familiarity of private lives, loves, and homes. Yet, although some of the present essays touch on such topics or related ones, most engage in what look like extraneous subjects. The "impossibility" of writing, cultural grafts and organ transplants, "nomadology " and courtly love, snapshot and voyeurism, and intimate difference are some of the topics developed here. And if this series testifies to a surprising range of themes, it may not be because these themes stray from the subject of the intimate, but because the notion of intimacy is itself both wide-ranging and problematic. It may be because intimacy—as many of these essays demonstrate—is the least intimate of concepts. In its heart of hearts, one may find neither closeness and identity, nor secret interiority and the comforting space of the familiar, but alienation, foreignness, longing, and the breach of the caesura. Intimacy, along with its representations or esthetics (taken here in the most general sense of the term), implies a certain lack: of definition and center, of presence and proximity. Whether these representations touch on the closeness of subjective and interpersonal relations, or attempt the delineation of the domestic sphere and that of cultural, national or colonial/post-colonial identity, or whether they deal finally with the question of writing and its own "intimate" powers of depiction, they all partake in a common paradox: intimacy , these representations suggest, is such only insofar as it is also foreign. It is constituted, as we see in these representations, by an outside that simultaneously joins and disjoins. In the end, they all illustrate the fact that, as Thomas Dutoit argues here, intimacy is the experience of separation at the inside (thus outside) of intimacy. The essays presented in this issue examine the inner workings of this logic both in early modern and contemporary representations of the intimate, in philosophy as well as in literature, art, and film. Some essays, concentrating on recent philosophical and literary thought, show the capital importance of a Vol. XLIV, No. 1 3 L'Esprit Créateur notion that remains implicit in most modem works and yet underlies virtually all of their themes (self and transplant, national identity, writing, etc.). Thomas Dutoit, for example, surveys Derrida's work in order to show us the paradoxical centrality of intimacy. By demonstrating how intimacy is synonymous with the fundamental notion of "différance"—and participates equally in all post-modern speculations on being and thinking—Dutoit offers a clear analysis of the paradoxes existing in the notion of intimacy, and he thus delineates its precise theoretical framework. This first investigation of the notion both grounds and intersects with other, more topical, analyses of some of modernity's intimate figures. A figure such as that of the transplant, for example—whether organic, cultural or textual—is one of modernity's most fundamental tools for thinking intimacy's paradoxes. As the articles of Alexandre Dauge-Roth, Martine Gantrel, and Elisabeth Arnould-Bloomfield demonstrate, such a figure, and the supplemental logic it puts into play, allow us to understand not only intimacy's complex workings, but also related problematizations of personal, national, and/or textual identities. Choosing to raise the question of the transplant as an event and/or figure constitutive of self, Alexandre Dauge-Roth shows how the constant presence of the graft in the host body forces it to grapple incessantly with the question of its own identity. Analyzing Jean-Luc Nancy and Malika Mokeddem's autobiographical as well as fictional writing on organ transplantation, Dauge-Roth shows how the bodily and/or cultural self is intimately constructed through the other's intrusion. His reading of intimacy thus allows for a deeper understanding of identity construction and also of the cultural and national other as that which permits a culture to assess...


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