“You, Me, and the Ether”: Anaesthetics in Vallejo and Eltit
Keywords:Anaesthesia, Ethics, Cesar Vallejo, Diamela Eltit
This essay reads César Vallejo’s Poemas humanos alongside Diamela Eltit’s novel Jamás el fuego nunca. Offering a new account of Eltit’s return to Vallejo, I attend to the authors’ shared engagements with the forces that, across centuries, thwart political possibilities and dampen collective energies. In keeping with the logic of both texts, I call these thwarting, forestalling forces “anaesthetizing.” For “anaesthesia, as men call it,” in Vallejo and something called “ether” in Eltit index a collective sealing-off of sensibilities. And in distinct but related ways, the Poemas humanosand Jamás el fuego nunca seek to undo this sealing-off, to cross the boundary that would separate the body in pain from others said not to be suffering. In both texts, pain is not merely shown to be relational but is made into the very medium of relation. And in both texts, this demonstration leads not to a valorization of pain as such, or of pure feeling, but rather to a perspective from which other kinds of relation become imaginable.
- 2020-09-02 (2)
- 2016-05-09 (1)
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