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The Cathedral as Object of Desire

The Cathedral as Object of Desire

(p.189) 8 The Cathedral as Object of Desire
Plotting Gothic
Stephen Murray
University of Chicago Press

In this chapter, dealing with the cathedral as object of desire, each of our witnesses articulates his experience of delectation or intense pleasure in the spaces and forms of the cathedral. Gervase takes us beyond this pleasure to identify the longing of the brothers to re-enter their choir with the longing of the ancient Israelites to recover Zion: the eternal longing for redemption. Suger conflates the glorious vision of the unbuilt choir with the appearance of the resurrected Christ. This desire is then complicated through triangulation with other covert objectives and frustrated through the recognition of the obstacles blocking the way: obstacles that are overcome through a process of mnemonic contraction as ardent hopes and images are exchanged by the builders and physical expansion as plots are laid out on the ground and realized through the media of stone, timber and glass.

Keywords:   object of desire, delectation, longing, redemption, mnemonic contraction, physical expansion

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