Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Philosophy in the Boudoir.

The "Mauve boudoir" of the last Russian Empress, Alexandra Feodorovna

Mauve, purple, pink and violet have never, ever been to my taste.  Just to dispense with that thought before commencing upon my latest posting.  Admittedly, however, every time I think of the word "boudoir" it does conjure up thoughts of the last tsarina's famous mauve boudoir, together with images and ideas of excessive grandeur or high camp, tinged with a mix of opulent Victorian design, and excessive Russian nouveau riche.  In other words, something rather hideous, garish and crass.  Lilac is one of those colours I loath, together with cyan blue and lime green, shades I would most sincerely hope never, ever to see nor find in my home.  Ever!  Also when I think of boudoirs my mind is transported far away from tsarist opulence but to the mind of Donatien Alphonse François and his debauched masterpiece "La philosophie dans le boudoir", which lends itself to the title of this entry.  I remember first reading this, alongside Venus in Furs; Histoire d'O; Delta of Venus; Tropic of Cancer; and the Story of the Eye in my early twenties when I was in my quest of self discovery and reading a spate of "tasteful" yet eclectic, pornographic literature.  In fact, extraordinarily enough, of all the above the most arousing of the books was indeed Sade's Philosophy in the Boudoir with it's catalogue of perversions and depravities heaped upon the teenage Eugénie de Mistival. 

Throughout the course of the dialogues, there are some wonderful examples and lines, vividly conveying the need to by the author to arouse, to shock and to stimulate himself as much as his readers.  Among the words uttered by some of the characters to "educate" Eugénie are:-

"Je ne parlerai point de ces globes de chair, vous savez aussi bien que moi, Eugénie, que l’on les nomme indifféremment gorge, seins, tétons; leur usage est d’une grande vertu dans le plaisir, un amant les a sous les yeux en jouissant, il les caresse, il les manie, quelques-uns en forment même le siège de la jouissance, et leur membre se nichant entre les deux monts de Vénus, que la femme serre et comprime sur ce membre, au bout de quelques mouvements, certains hommes parviennent à répandre là le baume délicieux de la vie, dont l’écoulement fait tout le bonheur des libertins…"

"C’est une espèce de vase ressemblant à une bouteille dont le cou embrasse le membre de l’homme, et qui reçoit le foutre produit chez la femme par le suintement des glandes, et, dans l’homme, par l’éjaculation que nous te ferons voir ; et du mélange de ces liqueurs naît le germe qui produit tour à tour des garçons ou des filles."

Despite all this dianoia, as opposed to phronesis, during some of my downtime to occupy and entertain my mind outside of my usual escape into either looking at art books, or, if I feel in the mood for reading, my scope of reading material has continued to incorporate different ideas, thoughts, opinions not to mention subject matter.  Admittedly I feel rather like Boethius at the moment, with my head/mind/brain (delete where applicable) being my prison cell, and for the most part, when not just wanting to close my eyes and shut the world out I have been dipping here and there into my psychology/psychoanalysis books once again as well as various works of philosophy, and which leads us back full circle to the reasoning behind the title of this entry.

The dipping has literally been just that, not looking at anything specific.  Everything from Eco to an anthology of Jung's writings on all variety of subjects without having to go all the way through Dreams, or Modern Man in Search of a Soul, etc once again.  Throw in some Montaigne, Iris Murdoch, Erasmus, Sartre, Bertrand Russell and you're half way there.  Just allows the mind to think in all sorts of directions; throw away the compass, throw away the map, and just explore.  That's all my mind is capable of at the moment.  Thought without direction, learning without steerage. Good or bad I don't know, but excellent escapism and just enlightening.

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