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Syncope

The Philosophy of Rapture

1994
Author:

Catherine Clement
Translated by Deirdre M. Mahoney and Sally O’Driscoll
Foreword by Verena Andermatt Conley

Syncope

Clément takes us whirling through the timelessness of syncope, the stop-time of music, literature, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. Examining moments of “syncopation” in the discourses of Plato, Descartes, Pascal, Hegel, and Kierkegaard, the author critiques a classical Western logocentric philosophy that always tries to master any fissure of uncertainty.

Clément takes us whirling through the timelessness of syncope, the stop-time of music, literature, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. Examining moments of “syncopation” in the discourses of Plato, Descartes, Pascal, Hegel, and Kierkegaard, the author critiques a classical Western logocentric philosophy that always tries to master any fissure of uncertainty.

Syncope is a highly original and provocative work. It confirms Clément's capacity to assimilate Lacan's difficult thought and re-present it in an arresting, convincing yet resolutely unreductive way.

Mary Lydon, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Syncope: a fainting, a musical disruption, an elision. The Marquise of O's baby, conceived in a swoon, is born of such a lapse. The tango, with a dip, suspends a woman in time. Poetry skips a beat and compresses the world.

Blending the lyricism of écriture feminine, the rigor of philosophical discourse, and the clarity of journalism, this book takes us whirling through the timelessness of syncope, the stop-time of music, literature, psychoanalysis, and philosophy.

By disclosing moments of "syncopation" in the discourses of Plato, Descartes, Pascal, Hegel, and Kierkegaard, Catherine Clément critiques a certain operation of classical Western logocentric philosophy that always tries to master any fissure of uncertainty. She plays with the paradigm of syncope as it appears in medicine, grammar, music, and poetry. As she uncovers syncopation in Indian philosophies, Clément develops an anthropological account of ravishment in India and at the same time tackles global problems of power through various concepts of the subject. A study of absence among those who traffic in time, her book offers a thrilling look into the lapses where rapture awaits us.


Syncope

Catherine Clément has been a professor, a journalist, and cultural editor of Le Matin. Currently a cultural diplomat at the French Embassy in Vienna, she is the author of Opera, or the Undoing of Women (Minnesota, 1988) and coauthor, with Hélène Cixous, of The Newly Born Woman (Minnesota, 1986).

Sally O'Driscoll is assistant professor of English and women's studies at Fairfield University.

Deirdre M. Mahoney is a freelance translator, who is pursuing her doctoral degree at City University, New York.

Verena Andermatt Conley is professor of French and women's studies at Miami University, Ohio. She is the editor of Rethinking Technologies (Minnesota, 1993).

Syncope

Syncope is a highly original and provocative work. It confirms Clément's capacity to assimilate Lacan's difficult thought and re-present it in an arresting, convincing yet resolutely unreductive way.

Mary Lydon, University of Wisconsin at Madison