[-empyre-] love and sacrifice

Suzanne Fredericq sfredericq at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 8 04:46:53 EST 2008

A 1979 documentary film about the Belgian writer Suzanne Lilar
(1901-1992)  has been
uploaded at: http://youtube.com/nemastoma3 . Some segments discuss Love, for example:

(Sorry for the bad image quality of some passages) 

PART 7: "L'amour déraisonnable" -- "Unreasonable love":

In "Le Couple (1963), translated as "Aspects of Love in Western
Society" (1965), Suzanne Lilar establishes an opposition between
reasonable love - which is profane- and unreasonable love (or "l'amour
fou") - which is sacred. She pleads for a resacralization of love as
the fundamental basis for the couple.  Unreasonable love, founded on
desire, is sacral because it proposes to go beyond the creature. It
already represents a fundamental nostalgia for a sort of lost paradise,
of an indistinctness from which we came from, of which we have a vague
memory, and to which we desire to return. 

love is sacral (it communicates the sacred) and cathartic in that it
reduces love to its essence - not unlike Plato's critical purification
at the level of the mind (and to which Diotima will try to initiate
Socrates in the Symposium), or the purifying quest for the divine by
the 13th century poet and mystic Hadewijch of Antwerp (see also Part

Lilar evokes the violence of the love between Héloïse and Abélard (see also Part 6). 


PART 6: L'androgynie du couple" -- "The androgyny of the couple" 

Lilar elaborates on the theme of the
androgynous couple. She points out that both Georges Bernanos and
Fernand Crommelynck had discovered this theme in her play "Le Burlador"
and that they were struck by the hermaphroditism of the play. 

confession anonyme" or "The anonymous confession" (1960)  is a
reaction against commercial eroticism and pornography that renders love
insignificant. By reevaluating chastity as the rule, and the lapses as
the exceptions, everything in love is to be valued. 

to Lilar, the primordial significances of love are expressed through a
sort of ceremonial that the lover extends to the woman. This ritual,
when imprinted with violence and outrage, only ceases to be wounding if
acted out as a theatre play and when - in the disinterestedness of the
play - it is reminiscent of primordial behaviours. 

Héloïse is
the example of a woman who, vis-à-vis Abélard, practiced a sort of
played humility. It is certain that this woman, who conversed on an
equal footing with Saint Bernard de Clairvaux, had the sincerity of the
actor (see also Part 7).


PART 3: "L'éblouissement" or "Dazzlement"

Lilar's first play, "Le
Burlador" (1945) or " The Burlador" is at first an exercise of style on
the theme of Don Juan. The first scene is a transfer of the first scene
of Sevilla de Tirso de Molina's "El Burlador". But then the characters
escape her, get a life on their own, and the magic spell of the theatre
takes over. 

In this play she approaches a topic that is dear
to her: the difference between masculine love - rebellious to lingering
- and feminine love - enamored at the same time with passion and
duration. Men do not believe, in general, that it is possible to
connect in a same love both passion and duration. 

Lilar's second
play, "Tous les chemins mènent au ciel" (1947) is a reaction against
ectasy - the slope towards dissolution in love, a reaction against this
very tendency of her own nature. In this play she wants to give a
renewed status and dignity to ectasy by demanding it be experienced
with lucidity and consciousness. She does not make a difference beween
such amorous ectasy and religious ectasy (see also Parts 7 and 9).


From: Christina McPhee <christina at christinamcphee.net>
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] love and sacrifice
To: "soft_skinned_space" <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Date: Tuesday, October 7, 2008, 11:59 AM

> s the logic of sacrifice bound up with eternal return?

maybe but Love isn't.  Because She proliferates (ie not just a closed  

On Oct 6, 2008, at 5:21 PM, Owen J. Ware wrote:

> Nicholas,
> Let me try to address your first question about the
> of love.  There's something of a paradox here.  On the one hand,  
> there is what we might call the 'tyranny of love' as a force of  
> speech or signification that, as you put it, 'assaults' us from  
> every direction.  This is the threat I see Barthes struggling with:  
> the threat of love becoming cliches.  For Barthe, love-cliches are a  
> symptom of a deeper exclusion, perhaps the exclusion of an excess  
> that animates love and its discourse.  The other half of the puzzle  
> is that it doesn't seem there is anything else to love than its  
> repetition.  So the force of repetition in love, the condition of  
> possibility for love becoming banal, common-place, dead, is also the  
> condition of possibility for its life and affirmation.
> In my article, this is what I identify as the "Nietzschean"
> of love discourse.  For Barthes, it is the fact that "I love
> must also somehow mean "Let us begin again."  It must always be
> affirmation of a repetition--not, however, the repetition of the  
> same, but the repetition of the different.  This, then, would mean  
> that love (as a discourse) has no 'content', unless we want to  
> define that content in terms of an eternal return.  Perhaps this  
> connects to your other questions.  Is the logic of sacrifice bound  
> up with eternal return?
> -Owen.

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