The cook, the thief, his wife and her lover: a discourse on disgust

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“The characteristic of a human being is that – and this is very much in contrast with other animals – he doesn't know what to do with his shit. He is encumbered by his shit… Civilisation means shit, cloaca maxima”. Jacques Lacan1“The word vomit arrests the vicariousness of disgust, it puts the thing in the mouth; it substitutes, but only for example, oral for anal. It is determined by the system of the beautiful, “the symbol of morality,” asife other; it is then for philosophy, still, an elixir, even in the quintessence of its bad taste.” Jacques Derrida2“It all ends up as shit in the end.” Albert Spica in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-365
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


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