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impotent narcissus

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Nice piece by Nicholas Lezard on Don Giovanni and the various things people have said about it / him:

So, for all that Don Juan is driven by carnal desires, or perhaps precisely because of this, he has been a philosopher’s favourite. Kierkegaard devoted much of Either/Or to an evaluation of the opera, excusing himself with the declaration that music does not exist in the moral domain. Michel Foucault, in his History of Sexuality, took perhaps the most radical line of all: Juan represented “the individual driven, in spite of himself, by the sombre madness of sex. Underneath the libertine, the pervert … We shall leave it to psychoanalysts to speculate whether he was homosexual, narcissistic, or impotent.” (To which one might well ask: “Come again?”)

Moral philosopher Bernard Williams asked whether the Don was “fleeing from exhaustion and inner emptiness … or, according to George Sand and Flaubert, engaged in a despairing hunt for a genuine encounter with another person.”

Written by adswithoutproducts

September 6, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Posted in music, sex

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