The Call of the Trance
Translated by Chris Turner
5 x 8.5 inches, 184pp. October 2014
ISBN : 9780857421906
Rs 595.00 (HB)
The Call of the Trance is a magnificent book which takes us to the frontiers of the forbidden. These states of ‘eclipse’ from life that are pursued by every human being who is in search of meaning are elusive and invariably inexpressible. From initiation ceremonies to crises of hysteria, from suicide attempts to the ecstasies of witches, Catherine Clément explores in simple but scholarly terms the responses that civilizations have offered to this need to disappear. These human beings whose marginal status is a source of anxiety are persecuted by social and religious rules.
From the witches of Loudun to current Mongolian shamans, from the eighteenth-century Convulsionaries of Saint-Médard to Greeks of today dancing on the embers of their fires, Clément questions the countless means desire employs to push back the limits of the body. She shows how, from Dionysian antiquity to our own day, the petite mort of the trance state shows up in the lovers’ coup de foudre, in anorexia, rock music, rap, sexual reassignment, eroticism and even Twilight-style vampire stories.
Catherine Clément, prominent French feminist, has published over 40 works: essays on anthropology and psychoanalysis (including Opera: the Undoing of Women, University of Minnesota Press, 1999) and novels which have been highly successful both in France and abroad (including Theo’s Odyssey, Flamingo, 2000). Her autobiography, entitled Mémoire, was published by Stock (Paris) in 2009.
Chris Turner is a writer and translator who lives in Birmingham, England.