New BSC Review Column
The appetence for alterity…
The desire for Diversity Victor Segalen called it in his posthumous, fragmentary Essai sur l’exotisme. I prefer my terms, for the sense of affinity versus lust, deviance versus variety. And I’m not one for the pomp of concepts rendered as proper nouns, unless in a metaphor of domain — the ghetto of Genre, the city of Writing. But what Segalen’s suggesting is precisely what Abraham is reaching for — a flensing of what he sees as false exoticism. Writing on the cusp of modernity, Segalen seeks to shred the colonialist muscle and fat, strip back the notion to its skeleton and reconstitute the term:
Clear the field first of all. Throw overboard everything misused or rancid contained in the word exoticism. Strip it of all its cheap finery: palm tree and camel; tropical helmet; black skins and yellow sun; and, at the same time, get rid of all those who used it with an inane loquaciousness.
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