Flirtations: Rhetoric and Aesthetics This Side of Seduction (Idiom Inventing Writing Theory FUP)

Flirtations: Rhetoric and Aesthetics This Side of Seduction (Idiom Inventing Writing Theory FUP)

Daniel Hoffman-Schwartz

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 0823264904

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

What is flirtation, and how does it differ from seduction?

In historical terms, the particular question of flirtation has tended to be obscured by that of seduction, which has understandably been a major preoccupation for twentieth-century thought and critical theory. Both the discourse and the critique of seduction are unified by their shared obsession with a very determinate end: power. In contrast, flirtation is the game in which no one seems to gain the upper hand and no one seems to surrender. The counter-concept of flirtation has thus stood quietly to the side, never quite achieving the same prominence as that of seduction. It is this elusive (and largely ignored) territory of playing for play's sake that is the subject of this anthology.

The essays in this volume address the under-theorized terrain of flirtation not as a subgenre of seduction but rather as a phenomenon in its own right. Drawing on the interdisciplinary history of scholarship on flirtation even as it re-approaches the question from a distinctly aesthetic and literary-theoretical point of view, the contributors to Flirtations thus give an account of the practice of flirtation and of the figure of the flirt, taking up the act's relationship to issues of mimesis, poetic ambiguity, and aesthetic pleasure. The art of this poetic playfulness-often read or misread as flirtation's "empty gesture"-becomes suddenly legible as the wielding of a particular and subtle form of nonteleological power.

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the analogy with the Symposium, flirtation would make superfluous the desire whose intellectual form is speculation.11 Where there is flirtation, so goes this line of thought, there can be no speculative philosophy. Going back to where my essay began, I am thus posing the question of how best to understand finitude. The Symposium itself is hardly decided on this matter: On one side, it is desire that propels the (“Platonic”) movement from finitude to the Idea, desire itself transformed (or

Double Session,” 195. 158 NOTES TO PAGES 72–75 22. “Die untere Hälfte des E nämlich lud weit zu gefälligem Schwunge aus, in dessen offenen Schoss die kurze Silbe das Nachnamens sauber eingetragen wurde. Von oben her aber den u-Haken zum Anlass und Ausgang nehmend und alles von vorn umfassend, gesellte sich ein zweiter Schnörkel hinzu, welcher den E-Schwung zweimal schnitt, und gleich diesem von Zierpunkten flankiert, in zügiger S-Form nach unten verlief” (B 43). 23. Derrida, “The Double

Roger Caillois, Walter Benjamin, and Surrealism in the 1930s,” Modernism/modernity 16. 1 (2009): 61–86. 17. In Caillois’s view, “at the limit, for science everything is milieu.” Roger Caillois, “Mimétisme et Psychasthénie légendaire,” in Le mythe et l’homme (Paris: Gallimard, 1938), 129n2. Translations are mine, unless quoted from Hamilton. 18. Ibid., 131. With respect to documentary evidence, Caillois’s sources, already selectively interpreted, have been complicated or challenged by subsequent

Other Works (London: Hogarth Press, 1917–1919), 1–124. Here is Freud’s conclusion: “Scenes of observing sexual intercourse between parents at a very early age (whether they be real memories or phantasies) are as a matter of fact by no means 166 NOTES TO PAGES 127–134 rarities in the analyses of neurotic mortals. Possibly they are no less frequent among those who are not neurotics. Possibly they are part of the regular store in the— conscious or unconscious—treasury of their memories. But as

standing aside. In other words, to be a coquette is to offer oneself in the mode and movement of withdrawal. One makes oneself fort in order to be da. It is a simultaneous yes and no,32 which is not to be confused with the violent logic of “no means yes” or the dream logic that knows no no. Rather one announces one’s desire by concealing it—which is not the same as having no desire; instead desire is held forth, presented in its concealedness. THESIS 5: FLIRTATION IS PERMANENT EXTRADECISIONISM

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