By Jean-Luc Nancy
Trans. Philip Armstrong
From Plato's Symposium to Hegel's fact as a "Bacchanalian revel," from The Bacchae of Euripedes to Nietzsche, philosophy holds a deeply ambivalent relation to the pleasures of intoxication. At an identical time, from Baudelaire to Lowry, from Proust to Dostoyevsky, literature and poetry also are haunted through scenes of intoxication, as though philosophy and literature percentage a subject matter that asserts and navigates their proximities and differences.
For Nancy, intoxication constitutes an extra that either fascinates and questions philosophy's sober ambitions for applicable kinds of philosophical habit and conceptual lucidity. while, intoxication displaces a couple of confirmed dualities--reason and fervour, brain and physique, rationality and wish, rigor and extra, readability and confusion, common sense and eros.
Taking its element of departure from Baudelaire's express principal to appreciate modernity--"be under the influence of alcohol always"--Nancy's little booklet consists in fragments, quotations, drunken asides, and under the influence of alcohol repetitions. His modern "banquet" addresses quite a number similar subject matters, together with the position of alcohol and intoxication in rituals, myths, divine sacrifice, and spiritual symbolism, all these toasts to the sacred "spirits" related to libations and diverse varieties of speech and enunciation--to the gods, to modernity, to the Absolute.
Affecting either brain and physique, Nancy's topic turns into intoxicated: Ego sum, ego existo ebrius--I am, I exist--drunk.
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Additional info for Intoxication
V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), 27. Nancy remains closer to the German than the existing English translations. See G. W. F Hegel, Phänomenologie des Geistes, in Werke (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1970), 3:46. 5. Ibid. Translation modified. 6. Nancy is punning here on Hölderlin’s references to the aorgisch or “aorgic,” which Hölderlin opposes to the organic. See Friedrich Hölderlin, “Ground for Empedocles,” in 53 54 NOTES TO PAGES 4–13 Essays and Letters on Theory, trans. Thomas Pfau (Albany: SUNY Press, 1987), 50–61.
Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, vol. 1, Within a Budding Grove, trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin (New York: Vintage, 1982), 874. 33. Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, vol. 2, The Guermantes Way, trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin (New York: Vintage, 1982), 235. The quotation is from Alfred de Musset, not Augier.
How is the body liquid? Isn’t it with all its water, blood, lymph, its genital liqueurs, its tears, its essential oils, its bile or synovial humors? Doesn’t the body leak out when it no longer has to deal with some necessity? When it floods, overflowing its own tide? 43 INTOXICATION III The detached, ab-solutum, the untied or independent are in my dependencies. That’s how we get drunk and get soaked [inondons] with one another. The independent depends on me [Dépend de moi l’indépendant]. Thus, not depending, but rather I am depending on this independence whose infinite proximity appropriates me as what is more proper to me than any possible property.