kathryn crim A review of Michel de Certeau, The Mystic Fable, Volume Two, edited by Luce Giard, translated by Michael B. Smith (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015). Cited in the text as mf2. Vera incessu patuit dea Aeneid 1.405 In his essay "L'énonciation mystique" (1976), collected in the English volume Heterologies (1986), Michel de Certeau discusses a famous encounter from Book 1 of the Aeneid: Venus, disguised as a young huntress, assures her son of the safety of his ships and encourages him, not without an air of reprimand, to continue on his way to the queen of Carthage. She then turns to leave. Only in the particularity of her step as she retreats into the woods does Aeneas belatedly recognize his mother: "And by her stride she showed herself a goddess" (Aeneid 1.551).1 For de Certeau, who will reprise this verse from time to time throughout his critical works, the gait of the goddess figures several aspects of the "mystic" style he endeavors to reclaim from a reductively historical description of mysticism. "In the beginning," he writes of his critical project, it is best to limit oneself to the consideration of what goes on in the
Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Dec 2, 2016
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