Book of the Week #5

Anne Norton, Blood-rites of the Post-Structuralists: Word, Flesh and Revolution, Routledge, 2002. This is almost certainly going to be terrific stuff. From the publisher’s blurb (which is the best I can do for now: the copy I’ve ordered hasn’t yet arrived): “In Bloodrites of the Post-Structuralists …[Norton] starts by reminding us of the real interplay between words (laws, scriptures, myths, and history) and the world of flesh (of bloodties and bloodshed, skin color and sexuality). The seemingly precious and all too literary constructs of the poststructuralists really do act on the body politic. The book is written on three historical sites:the revolutions in England and France, the struggle against colonialism, and the modern liberal order. In this telling, we see liberal constitutions born in Terror and regicide, we see a word, a text, a document, write “slave” on the darkness of the body, we see the guillotine release the power in the blood, and we hear the words that declare a people free. Norton re-reads and re-writes foundational myths from Abraham and Isaac on the mountain top in the Bible to legends of the American Revolution. This lyrical and mesmerizing book serves, in its way, as a catalog of oppressions, and a history of the justifications oppressors have made for injustices…”

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