Dominique Laporte — History of Shit

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“A brilliant account of the politics of shit. It will leave you speechless.”Sylvere Lotringer. According to Jacques Lacan, humans distinguish themselves from animals the moment shit becomes for them an embarrassing leftover, a source of shame, something to be secretly disposed of. As such, shit casts its shadow even at the most sublime moments of human experience. In ancient Greek theatres, a hole in the middle of the large stone seats in the front rows allowed members of the privileged classes to undergo a double katharsis—a spiritual purification by which their souls were cleansed of bad emotions and a bodily purification to eliminate bad-smelling excrement. Far from being a theoretical joke about the unmentionable ‘that,’ Laporte’s History of Shit confronts the most fundamental issues of what it means to be human


Laporte, Dominique: . History of Shit. Translated with an Introduction by Rodolphe El-Khoury. MIT Press / A Documents Book, 2000. 8vo in wraps as issued. XIII, 160 pages. Illustrated. Fine clean copy

First English language edition of “Histoire de la merde” (1993 / 1978). 3rd printing

Dominique Laporte — History of Shit