“Vile bodies”

by Valentine Cunningham

March 8, 1996  



“Our thought is so obsessed with the body that it has become trapped in a
carcass of its own making. Valentine Cunningham believes it is time to
move on.

  We are all somaticists nowadays. Like Philip Larkin’s Mr Bleaney
we are all “at the Bodies”. The Body has become the focus of all our
dreams of the real. It is the truest of our truths. The body is the
presence we can rely on, our metaphysics of presence. Our latest bodies
of knowledge involve knowledge of the body. Our Library of Babel is a
body building. Body Work, The Body in Pain, Literature and the Body, The
Body in Pieces, The Tremulous Private Body, The Body Emblazoned,
Somatic Fictions, Fragments for a History of the Body (in three
volumes), Body and Text in the 18th Century, Pornography and
Representation in Greece and Rome, The Body, The Body, The Body: how the
somatically inclined titles accrue. The Bodleian Library bids fair to
become a bodily library. Theory shops at the body shop…


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