Paris and the Fetish: Primal Crime Scenes by Alistair Rolls

By Alistair Rolls

Freud's 1927 essay at the acquisition of a reveal reminiscence, or fetish, permits the topic to return to phrases with the anxious fact that, for him, dominates the current second (in Freud's situation, the reality of mother's sexuality) by way of conserving, along and not as opposed to it, a parallel tale of the earlier (the delusion of the phallic mother). during this publication Freud's thought of the fetish, and specifically this manner of permitting adverse and ostensibly jointly unique narratives to co-exist, is used to supply a few Parisian crime texts with radical new strategies. The fetishistic world-view of Charles Baudelaire's poetics can be proven to supply the template for all overrated cases of girls passing by way of; particularly, will probably be obvious how the well-known attack on one among Christian Dior's types as she displayed the recent search for the 1st time in Montmartre in 1947 is determined by a fetish erected within the poem "À une passante". a similar Paris streets enable purple herrings to be raised to the prestige of fact in novels by way of Fred Vargas, Léo Malet and Frédéric Cathala. In those texts the invention of a primal scene permits doubt to be forged over authorial suggestions and new murderers or sufferers to be stumbled on. when it comes to Jean-Paul Sartre's La Nausée, the fetishism at paintings is proven to have harboured a serial killer the place no crime was once formerly thought of to have taken position. In those analyses, fetishism is mapped onto prose poetics, intertextuality and deconstruction so one can problem the best way we learn textual content. extra importantly, rereading those texts permits us to work out fetishism in a brand new gentle as a strength for optimistic, inventive acts of meaning-making.

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Paris, Capital of Fetishism 55 be re-seen, in fetishized form, always and forever. For, if “this very crowd brings to the city dweller the figure that fascinates” (Benjamin 1997, 125), Baudelaire’s poem sends it back to the crowd, establishing the clothes of the woman passing by as a fetish, and turning her appearance on the street into a myth of modernity. Festoons and hems are now enough – they both veil and symbolize the shock of the double city – and Malet, Vian and the stall-holders of rue Lepic all dwell on the ‘sartorial representation’.

26 The move from modernity to modernism can be expressed by a change of perspective, which sees the poet move down from his garret into the city streets. The conflation of the roles of reader and writer, so famously theorized in the wake of the death of the author, has its echoes in the shift in Baudelaire’s poetry from verse form to prose poetry, when suddenly the poet-narrator looks at Paris directly, seeing it as it is presented to him just as it is to the reader. And, of course, the prose poems present the position of the reader alongside (or juxtaposed with) the poetic representation of verse motifs.

Dior’s women are dressed both as themselves and as they ‘yearn to be’, both in and out of time. In other words, the constricting corsets and free-flowing skirts embody that stilted conversation between women and Woman. Fashion itself, we should recall, functions according to a double and paradoxical movement. It is interesting to note that Georg Simmel’s point about the evolution of fashion being first and foremost a step taken by the fashionable away from the crowd, but one which always already heralds a recapturing of the fashionable on the part of the crowd, is remade in the same year as the incident of Rue Lepic: “Quentin Bell (1947) put his finger on a central paradox of fashionable dress when he described how it is individualistic and conformist simultaneously.

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