Both a controversial account of the transgressive turn in critical thought characteristic of the moral turmoil of the Twentieth Century, and a provocative study of maternal transfiguration in the author's own turn from Transgression, Against Transgression poses an urgent question for the current generation of literary critics. Studies the origins of the contemporary proliferation of 'Transgression' in the compelling thought experiments of Georges Bataille, and follows its inauguration as a mode of legitimate critical practice via Michel Foucault. Tracks the author's rejection of Transgression as a legitimate critical methodology following her mother's death and her own maternal transfiguration. Shows how the po-faced claims of critical methodology can be exploded by genuinely personal reflection. Considers the place of grief in the transformation of thought. Argues against the model of the 'death of god' that underpins the transgressive turn in critical thought, and for a more courageous account of the inevitable return of numinous desires. Considers the moral responsibility of the critical writer.
Traces the transfiguration of the author from transgressive daughter to maternal agent.
Ashley Tauchert is currently Head of the English Department in the School of Arts, Languages and Literatures at the University of Exeter. She established the 'Institute for Feminist Theory and Research' with Gillian Howie in 1998, which hosted the international Third Wave Feminism conference at Exeter in 2001. She coordinates the 'Eighteenth-Century Narrative Project' and acts as Associate Editor for Critical Quarterly . She has come to enjoy a relatively quiet, reflective life in Devon.
Introduction: reflections of a transgressive daughter and her maternal transfiguration. 1. Preface Against Transgression: Bataillean transgression and its resonance in contemporary critical thought. 2. Minerva's Owl: the quest for feminine agency and the freedom of constraint. 3. 'A Serious and Dangerous Matter': 'Transgression' and the death of god. 4. Preface to Compassion. Index.