Slovenian philosopher Miran Bozovic's An Utterly Dark Spot examines the elusive status of the body in early modern European philosophy by examining its various encounters with the gaze. Its range is impressive, moving from the Greek philosophers and theorists of the body (Aristotle, Plato, Hippocratic medical writers) to early modern thinkers (Spinoza, Leibniz, Malebranche, Descartes, Bentham) to modern figures including Jon Elster, Lacan, Althusser, Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen J. Gould, and others. Bozovic provides startling glimpses into various foreign mentalities haunted by problems of divinity, immortality, creation, nature, and desire, provoking insights that invert familiar assumptions about the relationship between mind and body.
The perspective is Lacanian, but Bozovic explores the idiosyncrasies of his material (e.g., the bodies of the Scythians, the transvestites transformed and disguised for the gaze of God; or Adam's body, which remained unseen as long as it was the only one in existence) with an attention to detail that is exceptional among Lacanian theorists. The approach makes for engaging reading, as Bozovic stages imagined encounters between leading thinkers, allowing them to converse about subjects that each explored, but in a different time and place. While its focus is on a particular problem in the history of philosophy, An Utterly Dark Spot will appeal to those interested in cultural studies, semiotics, theology, the history of religion, and political philosophy as well.
Miran Bozovic is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is the author of Der grosse Andere: Gotteskonzepte in der Philosophie der Neuzeit (Vienna: Verlag Turia & Kant, 1993) and editor of The Panopticon Writings by Jeremy Bentham (London: Verso, 1995).