Wednesday, December 19, 2007
George Steiner, "Tongue of Eros"
There exists a fair number of monographs on sexual terms, lexica of the erotic, glossaries of the pornogaphic. What is lacking is any historical and psychologically responsible phenomenology of the interplay between sexuality and words, between libido and enunciation -- either internalized or vocal. No Aristotle, no Saussure has taken up this pivotal challenge. We have, so far as I am aware, no study, even summary, of how sex is experienced, of how love is made in different languages and different language sets. How does love-making in Basque or Russian differ from that in Flemish or Korean? What privileges or inhibitions arise between lovers with different first languages? No polyglot woman or man, so far as I know, has left a record of her or ehis sexuality within and between languages.