In The Sexual Night, renowned French writer and critic Pascal Quignard meditates on a remarkable collection of illustrations of sexual imagery. He moves from the annals of global art to ancient and modern, from Bosch and Dürer to Rembrandt and Tintoretto, from Caspar David Friedrich and Caravaggio to Bacon and Jean Rustin. The meditations are wonderfully woven together, presenting a reflection on the sexual image that psychoanalysis calls the primal scene” a concept introduced by Freud as the first sexual scene witnessed by a child; a scene that is unexplained, unforgettable, and ultimately haunting.
Throughout the course of twenty-seven chapters that draw on the mythological and artistic resources of Western and Far Eastern culture including the tragic love of Dido and Aeneas; the scandalous figure of Mary Magdalene; Lascaux and Golgotha; voyeurism and melancholy; Saint Augustine and Freud the book is a disquisition on vision, temporality, generation, and creation in all its forms. Forty-eight brilliant and sensual color images accompany the text, as Quignard questions the origin of our being and explains the unexplainable, while noted translator Chris Turner lends a crisp voice to the entire collection.
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Pascal Quignard is the author of more than sixty books and is widely regarded as one of the most important living writers in French. Chris Turner is a writer and translator who lives in Birmingham, England. He has translated Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Aftermath of War, Portraits and Critical Essays and André Gorz’s Ecologica and The Immaterial, all published by Seagull Books.
“Intelligible, mournful, and profound.” (New York Times)
“The Sexual Night explores much more thoroughly and universally than ever before this ‘invisible’ sexual scene that founds and forever affects us. . . . A thoroughly stimulating book.” (Arts Fuse)
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