By Victor Segalen
Written over the process fourteen years among 1904 and 1918, on the top of the age of imperialism, Essay on Exoticism encompasses Segalen’s makes an attempt to outline “true Exoticism.” this idea, he was hoping, wouldn't simply exchange nineteenth-century notions of exoticism that he thought of tawdry and romantic, but in addition redirect his contemporaries’ propensity to lessen the unique to the “colonial.” His critique envisions a mechanism that appreciates cultural difference—which it posits as a cultured and ontological value—rather than assimilating it: “Exoticism’s energy is not anything except the facility to conceive otherwise,” he writes.
Segalen’s pioneering paintings on otherness anticipates and informs a lot of the present postcolonial critique of colonial discourse. As such Essay on Exoticism is vital studying for either cultural theorists or people with an curiosity within the politics of distinction and diversity.
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Extra resources for Essay on Exoticism: An Aesthetics of Diversity
37 2 january 1909. Refrain from quoting when providing concrete examples, especially from writers. Admittedly, it is convenient to borrow images or support from those who were the great masters of 30 victor segalen words when formulating one’s thoughts in words. But it would mean falling into the same mistake as a writer who only writes about the artist’s soul or the painter who only paints scenes of artists’ studios. Excerpt from a letter to Jeanne Perdriel-Vaissière,38 written in Paris on 7 January 1909.
Exoticism. For the conclusion. Study the Ming dynasty. 68 This is because diversity for some is a speciﬁc kind of nourishment for beauty, but, at the same time and to a certain degree, diversity merges and subsides within something which is no longer diﬀerent or homogenous but: Beautiful. A kind of palinode for the whole book. The aesthetic principle is more general than the principle of the aesthetics of Diversity. 69 Beauty has generalizing elements which appear to obliterate the Beauty of Diversity—which would then be merely material for beauty, not the realization of beauty.
XII The future to come. XIII Finally, the chosen notion and mode of seeing the world which surrounds us, the subject’s attitude toward the object having more than fully embraced all thought, the conscious being (by way of the Hindu mechanism) ﬁnds himself face to face with his own self. (After discussing universal Exoticism, we arrive at an essential Exoticism. ) But even then, the conscious being knows that in conceiving 25 of himself he cannot but conceive of himself as other than he is. 28 Excerpt from a letter to Max Prat, written in Paris on 23 December 1908.
Essay on Exoticism: An Aesthetics of Diversity by Victor Segalen