The Mystic Fable, Volume TwoThe Sixteenth And Seventeenth Centuries

The Mystic Fable, Volume TwoThe Sixteenth And Seventeenth Centuries

Michel de Certeau and Luce Giard

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780226209135

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

This second and final volume of Michel de Certeau’s Mystic Fable, brought to fruition despite the author’s death in 1986 (see “Presentation” below) is a close analysis of the prose and poetry of John of the Cross and Nicholas of Cusa, a letter from Pascal, and a wealth of aspects of the mystic “fable” (fari: to speak). Going beyond the texts themselves, Certeau probes the uses to which books are put by such mystics as Teresa of Ávila, and the importance of the orientation of biblical translations during this period toward Scripture, as faith in religious institutions wanes. Our understanding of the “experimental science of mystics” grows through adjacent studies, such as the language of angels, the role of the body as the space of suffering and passions, and the phenomenon of glossolalia, a saying pursued despite the absence of a said. All of these approaches contribute to a historiography that does not substitute the writing of history for history itself, but tends toward historical truth as toward (the calculus of) a limit. The specific nature of the subject of this historical investigation is elusive in another sense as well: it is, to borrow the title of one Certeau’s works (1973), the historiography of “The Absent from History.” If all goes well, the reader may experience a point where a crowding fullness of information and reflection defines a space so clearly circumscribed as to suggest the “not this, not that” of the mystic aspiration.

Table of Contents

Front Matter

Mystic Historicities

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Michael B. Smith

Chapter One The Look: Nicholas of Cusa

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Michael B. Smith

Chapter Two The Poem and Its Prose

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Michael B. Smith

Chapter Three Shards of Speech

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Michael B. Smith

Chapter Four Uses of Tradition

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Michael B. Smith

Chapter Five Absolute Reading

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Michael B. Smith

Chapter Six Stories of Passions

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Michael B. Smith

Chapter Seven The Experimental Science of Madness

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Michael B. Smith

Chapter Eight Angelic Speech

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Michael B. Smith

Chapter Nine Biblical Erudition

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Michael B. Smith

Chapter Ten The Strange Secret: Pascal

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Michael B. Smith

The Opera of Speech: Glossolalias

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Michael B. Smith

End Matter