Bodies in E-motion: Sarah Kofman and Hélène Cixous Encountering Rembrandt

Vráblíková, Lenka. 2023. 'Bodies in E-motion: Sarah Kofman and Hélène Cixous Encountering Rembrandt'. In: Talking Bodies Conference 2023. University of Chester, United Kingdom 12 - 16 June 2023. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

In an interview entitled ‘Live Body’ (2019), feminist theorist Anne Emmanuelle Berger asserts that the lived-in or live body ‘is not only in motion but each body in emotion’ and as such ‘cannot be properly represented, or perhaps it can only be approached figuratively, by means of a complex tropology’. Drawing from Berger’s meditations, I explore Sarah Kofman’s and Hélène Cixous’ encounter with the work of Rembrandt in order to examine how European painting has grappled with the discourse on the body and the phallogocentric libidinal economy instigated by European colonial modernity. In a final and unfinished text ‘Conjuring Death: Remarks on The Anatomy Lesson of Doctor Nicolas Tulp (1632)’ published posthumously (1994/2007), Kofman provides a reading of Rembrandt’s display of a ‘scientific gaze’ of a corporation of doctors who just moved their attention from a corpse of a man laid out before them to a book at his foot. Cixous’s text ‘Bathsheba or the Interior Bible’ (1993/1993), is a reading of Rembrandt’s painting Bathsheba at Her Bath (1654) that opens by a rather intricate declaration: ‘I’ve taken twenty-four steps in (the direction of) Bathsheba.’ Following the display of these moves, the presentation speculates on the bodies and desires they make possible.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


June 2023Completed

Event Location:

University of Chester, United Kingdom

Date range:

12 - 16 June 2023

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

26 Mar 2024 10:00

Last Modified:

26 Mar 2024 10:00


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