What Is A Beautiful Woman?

“A beautiful young woman is a true voltaic cell,…in which the captive fluid is retained by the form of surfaces and the isolating virtue of the hair; so that when this fluid would escape from its sweet prison, it must make incredible efforts, which produce in turn, by influence on bodies differently animated, fearful ravages of attraction…The history of the human race swarms with examples of intelligent and learned men, intrepid heroes,…transfixed merely by a woman’s eye. … The holy King David proved that he perfectly understood the condensing properties of polished elliptical surfaces when he took unto himself the young Abigail.” — From Alphonse Toussenel’s L’Esprit des Betes (1853) as quoted in Walter Benjamin‘s Arcades Project,  (Convolute G. 12. 4)

 

A cool image I stumbled upon at The Womanhouse Zine. Can’t say why I paired the image and the quotation from Toussenel’s L’Esprit des Betes. What I do know is that I find both quite baffling. Feel free to make of the two whatever you will. You might also want to know that Toussenel was a French “”utopian socialist, a “disciple of Charles Fourier,” “anglophobic and anti-semitic.” He freely used “his studies of natural history as a vehicle for his political ideas.” 

Tags: , , , , , ,

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

One Response to “What Is A Beautiful Woman?” Subscribe

  1. Corn Eater 2012/10/01 at 22:53 #

    I know a beautiful woman when i see one. I like the image you used. While not exactly beautiful, the image is very profound. I think the door says a thousand words. I know many people who would like to see the relationship between that door and beautify as revolving.

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

Dear Genevieve | Words are Powerful, Speak the Truth, Even if Your Voice Shakes (pt. 6) | by Pa Ikhide

  Here in my part of America, the leaves are falling, the heart stirs and I am restless. There are […]

Binyavanga Wainaina’s Granta Essay is Beautifully Experimental

binyavanga granta (1)

Binyavanga Wainaina has a new essay in Granta‘s latest travel issue. The title of the essay is “Everything Was Suddening […]

Art Chasing Life Blatantly | Review of Chibundu Onuzo’s Welcome to Lagos | by Kola Tubosun

onuzo welcome to lagos

For almost two-thirds of Chibundu Onuzo’s new book, one searches in vain to find the source of the title, Welcome […]

Namwali Serpell on the Beauty and Uses of Being an Outsider

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 11.12.35 PM

Some of you may remember Namwali Serpell as the 2015 winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing. She teaches […]

A Shared Sea: Tsitsi Dangarembga and Zora Neale Hurston | By Salimah Valiani

hurston and dangaremgba

  Tsitsi Dangarembga’s 1988 novel, Nervous Conditions, the story of Tambudzai, other girl-children, and women of Babamukuru’s family in 1970s […]

Love Stories from Africa | Read the New Anthology Celebrating Love and Romance

adichie americanah (3)

  The annual release of a Valentine stories anthology has become a tradition of sorts, something exciting to look forward […]