The philosopher’s voice: Index n.51

Index number 51 is now on Soundcloud!

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soundcloud jean_luc nancy INDEX 51

Click on the picture and listen to Jean-Luc Nancy's voice

51

Click on the picture and listen to Jean-Luc Nancy's voice
  1. Beauty spot: this is the name for those brown or black particles, slightly prominent, that sometimes (and, for some, often) make a point, a mark, or a mole on the skin. Rather than spot the skin, they accentuate its whiteness, or at least this is what was often said in days when snow and milk served as points of comparison par excellence for women’s skin. Women would then, if need be, put velvet “flies” on their cheeks and neck. Today, we prefer darker skin, sunbathed or tanned. But the beauty spot keeps its appeal: it signals skin, sets off its expanse, and configures it, guides the eye and affects it as a mark of desire. We’d almost be inclined to call a beauty spot the seed of desire, a minuscule rise in intensity, a corpuscle whose dark tint concentrates the energy of the entire body, as does the nipple of the breast.

From Fifty-eight Indices on the Body (Corpus), Jean-Luc Nancy. New York, Fordham University Press, 2008.

  1. Grain de beauté: la langue française nomme ainsi ces particules brunes ou noires, très légèrement saillantes, qui viennent parfois (et chez certain(e)s, souvent) faire point, marque ou grain sur la peau. Au lieu de tacher la peau, elles en font ressortir la blancheur, c’est du moins ce qu’on aimait dire au temps où la neige et le lait servaient de comparants par excellence pour la peau des femmes. Celles-ci se posaient alors, au besoin, des «mouches» de velours sur les joues et sur la gorge. Aujourd’hui, on goûte les peaux plus brunes, hâlées ou bronzées, mais le grain de beauté garde son attrait: il signale la peau, il balise son étendue et la configure, il guide l’oeil et il agit sur lui comme un repère de désir. Pour un peu, on aimerait dire que le grain de beauté est un germe de désir, une minuscule levée d’intensité, un corpuscule dont la teinte foncée concentre une énergie du corps entier, comme le fait aussi la pointe du sein.

From 58 Indices sur le corps et Extension de l’âme. Éditions Nota bene, Québec, 2004.

  1. Grain de beauté: la lingua francese chiama così quelle parti­celle brune o nere, in leggerissimo rilievo, che vengono tal­volta (e in alcuni(e), spesso) a fare punto, segno o grano sulla pelle. Anziché macchiare la pelle, ne fanno risaltare il bianco­re, o almeno così si amava dire al tempo in cui la neve o il latte servivano da paragoni per eccellenza per la pelle delle donne. Allora, esse si posavano, all’occorrenza, delle “mosche” di velluto sulle guance e sul seno. Oggi, si apprezzano le pelli più brune, dorate o abbronzate, ma il grain de beauté mantie­ne il suo fascino: fa notare la pelle, segnala la sua estensione e la configura, guida l’occhio e agisce su di lui come punto di riferimento del desiderio. Per un poco, ci piacerebbe dire che il grain de beauté è un ger­me di desiderio, un minuscolo rilievo di intensità, un corpu­scolo la cui tinta scura concentra l’energia dell’intero corpo, come fa anche la punta del seno.

From Jean-Luc Nancy Indizi sul corpo. Ananke Edizioni, Torino, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

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