Difference between revisions of "Not a Desire to Have Him, But to Be Like Him"

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''Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith by Andrew Wilson · Bloomsbury, 534 pp, £25.00''
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''Beautiful Shadow: A [[Life]] of [[Patricia Highsmith]] by Andrew Wilson · Bloomsbury, 534 pp, £25.00''
  
For me, the name 'Patricia Highsmith' designates a sacred territory: she is the One whose place among writers is that which Spinoza held for Gilles Deleuze (a 'Christ among philosophers'). I learned a lot about her from Andrew Wilson's biography, a book which strikes the right balance between empathy and critical distance. Wilson's interpretations of her work, however, are often vapid. Can one really take seriously remarks such as: 'Highsmith's fiction, like Bacon's painting, allows us to glimpse the dark, terrible forces that shape our lives, while at the same time documenting the banality of evil'? Much more pertinent are the observations he quotes, such as Duncan Fallowell's perspicuous characterisation of Highsmith as 'a combination of painful vulnerability and iron will'. Or the anecdotes that illustrate her complete lack of tact, her openness about her fantasies and prejudices (although a leftist, she preferred Margaret Thatcher to the usual feminist bunch). Or the ethico-political grounds - already, in 1954, she was describing the US as a 'second Roman Empire' - on which she based her decision to make her home in 'old Europe'. As Frank Rich put it, she 'made a life's work of her ostracisation from the American mainstream and her own subsequent self-reinvention'.
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For me, the [[name]] 'Patricia Highsmith' designates a sacred territory: she is the One whose [[place]] among writers is that which [[Spinoza]] held for Gilles [[Deleuze]] (a '[[Christ]] among [[philosophers]]'). I learned a lot [[about]] her from Andrew Wilson's biography, a book which strikes the [[right]] [[balance]] between [[empathy]] and critical distance. Wilson's [[interpretations]] of her [[work]], however, are often vapid. Can one really take seriously remarks such as: 'Highsmith's [[fiction]], like [[Bacon]]'s painting, allows us to glimpse the dark, terrible forces that shape our lives, while at the same [[time]] documenting the banality of [[evil]]'? Much more pertinent are the observations he [[quotes]], such as Duncan Fallowell's perspicuous characterisation of Highsmith as 'a combination of painful vulnerability and iron will'. Or the anecdotes that illustrate her [[complete]] [[lack]] of tact, her [[openness]] about her [[fantasies]] and prejudices (although a [[leftist]], she preferred Margaret Thatcher to the usual [[feminist]] bunch). Or the ethico-[[political]] grounds - already, in 1954, she was describing the US as a 'second Roman [[Empire]]' - on which she based her decision to make her home in 'old [[Europe]]'. As Frank Rich put it, she 'made a life's work of her ostracisation from the American mainstream and her own subsequent [[self]]-reinvention'.
  
 
==Source==
 
==Source==
* [[Not a Desire to Have Him, But to Be Like Him]]. ''London Review of Books''. Volume 25. Number 16. August 21, 2003. <http://www.lrb.co.uk/v25/n16/zize01_.html>
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* [[Not a Desire to Have Him, But to Be Like Him]]. ''[[London]] Review of Books''. Volume 25. [[Number]] 16. August 21, 2003. <http://www.lrb.co.uk/v25/n16/zize01_.html>
  
  

Latest revision as of 06:20, 1 June 2019

Articles by Slavoj Žižek

Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith by Andrew Wilson · Bloomsbury, 534 pp, £25.00

For me, the name 'Patricia Highsmith' designates a sacred territory: she is the One whose place among writers is that which Spinoza held for Gilles Deleuze (a 'Christ among philosophers'). I learned a lot about her from Andrew Wilson's biography, a book which strikes the right balance between empathy and critical distance. Wilson's interpretations of her work, however, are often vapid. Can one really take seriously remarks such as: 'Highsmith's fiction, like Bacon's painting, allows us to glimpse the dark, terrible forces that shape our lives, while at the same time documenting the banality of evil'? Much more pertinent are the observations he quotes, such as Duncan Fallowell's perspicuous characterisation of Highsmith as 'a combination of painful vulnerability and iron will'. Or the anecdotes that illustrate her complete lack of tact, her openness about her fantasies and prejudices (although a leftist, she preferred Margaret Thatcher to the usual feminist bunch). Or the ethico-political grounds - already, in 1954, she was describing the US as a 'second Roman Empire' - on which she based her decision to make her home in 'old Europe'. As Frank Rich put it, she 'made a life's work of her ostracisation from the American mainstream and her own subsequent self-reinvention'.

Source