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Tactile PoeticsTouch and Contemporary Writing$
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Sarah Jackson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748685318

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748685318.001.0001

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Each Word of Skin

Each Word of Skin

(p.1) Introduction: Each Word of Skin
Tactile Poetics

Sarah Jackson

Edinburgh University Press

The introduction to this book outlines a cultural history of the body and its senses and surveys the irreducible bond between the page and the skin. It addresses the turn from the debasement of touch in Western philosophy to the recent surge of interest in the surface of the body. Despite our current fascination with the skin, however, the relationship between text and tact remains overlooked. Drawing on Sara Ahmed and Jackie Stacey's account of the ‘writerly effect’ of the skin, this introduction examines the connections between writing and the concept of tact. Considering the ‘writing-effects’ of the skin, it also questions the ways that the text itself can be read as a skin, proposing that Didier Anzieu's concept of the ‘skin ego’ offers us a way of understanding the ‘textual skin’. At the same time, however, the introduction identifies the central importance of the work of Hélène Cixous, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy to the study, discussing how their disruption of the opposition between touching and not-touching contributes to the way we read the skin, and arguing that interruption and withdrawal always haunt literary tact.

Keywords:   skin, textual skin, touch, writing, Didier Anzieu, Hélène Cixous, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy

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