Australian Journal of French Studies

Philosophy in the Weight Room: Nathalie Gassel and the Crisis of Self-Representation

Australian Journal of French Studies (2014), 51, (1), 75–87.

Abstract

This article traces the evolution of Belgian writer Nathalie Gassel's writing practices and contends that the space of the text is akin to the artist's own self-construction as an androgynous female bodybuilder. Yet this quest for self-representation also connotes a particular subjective crisis that the writer has lived. Although Gassel represents and embodies a singular example of a woman who has consciously transformed her body into a non-normative representation of Western female physicality, her writings on themes of otherness, marginality and exile allow us to situate her work within the scope of Belgian francophone literature. These writers have turned to literature as a space through which to examine notions of selfhood and subjective identity. Through her writings - both erotic and philosophical - Gassel negotiates the space of the individual in contemporary society and attempts to reconcile a particular type of mind-body dualism that finds its articulation in her own assertion and construction of autonomy.

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Author details

Angelo, Adrienne