Poetry and Ecstasy: Thinking Bodily with Heidegger and Bataille
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This essay explores the possibilities for thinking of the body as a site of exposure to and commingling with the world. I begin with Martin Heidegger’s engagement with the question of poetry as an encounter with the non-conceptual dimension of experience (earth). I then show how the disclosure of this non-conceptual dimension of experience in poetry requires an irreducibly bodily form of thought and experience. In the second chapter, I turn to the work of Georges Bataille in order to explore the bodily experiences and meditative practices he developed in the decades around and during World War II. First, I examine his writings concerning eroticism and laughter to show how these bodily experiences exceed conceptual determination and explanation. Lastly, I look at Bataille’s appropriation of medieval mystic Angela of Foligno’s practice of stigmatic meditation as a discipline of bodily exposure.