By Eliot Weinberger

ISBN-10: 0811223701

ISBN-13: 9780811223706

The world over acclaimed as probably the most cutting edge writers this present day, Eliot Weinberger has taken the essay into unexplored territories at the borders of poetry and narrative the place the single rule, based on the writer, is that each one the knowledge has to be verifiable.With An Elemental factor, Weinberger turns from his celebrated political chronicles to the timelessness of the topics of his literary essays. With the knowledge of a literary archaeologist-astronomer-anthropologist-zookeeper, he leads us via histories, fables, and meditations concerning the 10000 issues within the universe: the wind and the rhinoceros, Catholic saints and other people named Chang, the Mandaeans at the Iran-Iraq border and the Kaluli within the mountains of latest Guinea. one of the thirty-five essays integrated are a poetic biography of the prophet Muhammad, which used to be praised via the London instances for its "great attractiveness and grace," and "The Stars," a reverie on what's up there that has already been translated into Arabic, chinese language, Hindi, and Maori.

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Such a discourse obviously leaves itself open to the accusation of the sort of self-touching vice that critics of deconstruction frequently level at it. But this is not without consequences because the problem with touch in this sense is that both ‘touch’, and indeed ‘sense’, touch upon everything. There is nothing left untouched by this rhetoric of touching, including rhetoric itself and especially the rhetoric of knowing which is profoundly touched by the metaphor of touching. Literally the figurative touches everything.

One possible reading of this is that of Nancy, namely, that the parable is deployed by Jesus precisely so that those who see not and hear not will not understand. However, given that the Jesus of the Gospels spends his time saying contradictory and arresting things, an alternative and opposite reading is also possible, namely that Jesus speaks in parables because unlike the disciples the crowd have not been witnesses to the miracles and life of Jesus (‘to them it is not given’) and hitherto this crowd has listened to the word of God as preached by the Prophets and Pharisees and not ‘listened’ or understood.

His writing is no longer meaningfully discussing touch in a philosophical way and having failed to keep in touch with touch, the writing only serves to demonstrate the difficulty of touching on touch and so unpacking its metaphysics. The writing only refers to itself, writing that touches itself touching, sees itself seeing and so on. Nancy is lifting himself up by his own bootlaces but is no longer touching the ground beneath his feet. The danger here is that everything ‘all affect, all desire .

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