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Belsey
ISBN: 978-0-631-16814-0
Paperback
244 pages
October 1994, Wiley-Blackwell
This is an out of stock title.
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The great majority of stories are love stories. Is there a relationship between desire and reading? Desire and writing? Why do we read love stories? Why do lovers conventionally write letters, songs, poems?
In the light of poststructuralist theory, and with reference to the work of Lacan and Derrida in particular, Catherine Belsey argues that fiction - including poetry, drama and film - is paradoxically the most serious location of writing about desire in Western culture. Beginning with the celebration of true love in contemporary popular romance, and the reluctant skepticism of postmodern novels, she goes on to explore past representations of passion by Chretien de Troyes, Malory, Spenser, Donne, Keats, Edgar Allan Poe, Tennyson and Bram Stoker. Belsey also discusses the role of desire in the utopian writings of Plato, More and speculative feminists, from Charlotte Perkins Gilman to Marge Piercy.

Desire calls into question many of the distinctions Western culture takes for granted: between mind and body, fiction and reality, experience and writing. Belsey's extensive account of love stories from the past and present analyzes the historical differences which indicate that desire also challenges the commonsense distinction between nature and culture.

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