Stone angels, saintly hypochondriacs: On desire, asceticism and deep time

Rye Dag Holmboe

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This essay begins with an examination of Balzac’s “Louis Lambert,” an angelic figure who ends his life in a catatonic state, a condition as inert as a stone. It goes on to examine the intersection of the theological and geological in Balzac’s writings, and thinks about how this might relate to the work of similar figures in stories by authors such as Melville and Nescio, as well as a drawing by Paul Klee. The essay also considers Deleuze’s writings on Melville’s Bartleby, desire, hypochondria and the body without organs. It offers a psychoanalytic interpretation of the latter’s writings, and argues that the process of mineralisation undergone by the figures under examination, which might be described as a form of material immanence, is one that is enthralled by the drive to return to an inorganic state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-32
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Early online date5 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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