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For Fear of the Fire: Joan of Arc and the Limits of Subjectivityby Francoise Meltzer
Synopses & Reviews
Why are contemporary secular theorists so frequently drawn to saints, martyrs, and questions of religion? Why has Joan of Arc fascinated some of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century? In a book that faces crucial issues in both critical and gender inquiry, Françoise Meltzer uses the story of Joan as a guide for reading the postmodern nostalgia for a body that is intact and transparent. She argues that critics who place excessive emphasis on opposition and difference betray a nostalgia for an imagined, pre-Cartesian time when body and mind are as one. Engaging a number of theorists, and alternating between Joan's historical and cultural context, Meltzer explores the ways in which postmodern thinkers question and gender subjectivity. She argues that the way masculine subjects imagine Joan betrays their fear of death and necessitates the role of woman as other. As such, Joan serves as a useful model of the limits and risks of subjectivity. For Meltzer, she is both the first modern and the last medieval figure.
About the Author
Françoise Meltzer is the chair of the Department of Comparative Literature and professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Divinity School, and the College at the University of Chicago. She is the author of several works, including Hot Property, The Trial(s) of Psychoanalysis, and Salome and the Dance of Writing, as well as a coeditor of Critical Inquiry.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Snows of Yesteryear
1. The Body Revisited
2. The Discourse of Virginity: A Flight Before Light
3. Professions of Virginity
4. Responsio Mortifer: The Voice of the Mind
5. Fear of Fire: Death and the Impossible
6. Father, Can't You See I'm Burning?
Index of Proper Names
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