Transgressive Shame / Transgressing Shame Reflections on Lorna Crozier’s Poetic Revision of the Christian Myth of the Fall



Abstrakt

The general aim of this paper is to analyse the ways in which the concept of “transgression” loses its negative connotations in queer and feminist interpretations of the Biblical narrative of the Original Sin. In the course of this analysis, “transgression” ceases to be the indication of evil and sin, and starts to represent the possibility of transformation, redefinition, and rebellion. The theoretical part of the article focuses on the feminist reading of the Biblical Creation Myth and ponders the meaning of shame experienced by Adam and Eve in the aftermath of their sin. It also indicates the parallels between the concepts of “shame” and “queerness,” which comparison, in turn, allows for a redefinition of the notion of “transgression.” The subsequent part of the text constitutes an interpretation of Lorna Crozier’s poem titled “Original Sin.” In her revision Crozier subverts the binary logic of the Garden by means of evoking the character of Lilith as well as Aristophanes’ myth of the origins of human kind. The purpose of the proposed reading is to show that through queering the Biblical story, Crozier de-shames the Biblical Eve, and undermines the Biblical depiction of her sin. The last part of the paper focuses on an analysis of Crozier’s poem “What I Gave You Truly” in which Eve’s confession becomes the narrative of transgression.


Key words: Transgression, shame, feminist theory, queer theory, Lorna Crozier.


Allan, James, 2001: “Imagining an Intercultural Nation: A Moment in Canadian Queer Cinema”. In: Goldie, Terry, ed.: In a Queer Country: Gay and Lesbian Studies in the Canadian Context. Vancouver, Arsenal Pulp Press: 142—156.

Bernstein, Susan David, 1997: Confessional Subject: Relations of Gender and Power in Victorian Literature and Culture. Chapel Hill and London, The University of North Carolina Press.

Brooks, Peter, 1993: Body Work: Objects of Desire in Modern Narrative. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press.

Butler, Judith, 1999: Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York and London, Routledge.

Crozier Lorna, 2002: “Original Sin”. In: Apocrypha of Light. Toronto, McClelland & Steward: 20—22.

Crozier, Lorna, 2002: “What I Gave You Truly.” In: Apocrypha of Light. Toronto, McCleland and Steward: 39.

Daly, Mary, 1978: Gyn/Ecology. The Metaethics of Radical Feminism. Boston, Beacon Press.

Ecker, Ronald L., 1995: And Adam Knew Eve: A Dictionary of Sex in the Bible. Available HTTP: http://whobrad.com/and.htm (accessed 22 June 2003).

Felman, Shoshana, Laub, Dori, 1992: Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychology and History. London, Routledge.

Fernie, Ewan, 2002: Shame in Shakespeare. London, Routledge.

Foucault, Michel, 1998: The Will to Knowledge. The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1. Robert Hurley trans. London, Penguin Books.

Gilmore, Leigh, 1994: Autobiographics: A Feminist Theory of Women’s Self-Representation. Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press.

Graves, Robert, Pathai, Raphael, 1964: Hebrew Myths. New York, Doubleday.

Jacoby, Mario, 1994: Shame and the Origins of Self-Esteem. London, Routledge.

Kaufman, Gershen, 1996: The Psychology of Shame. Theory and Treatment of Shame-Based Syndromes. New York, Springer Publishing Company.

Kosofsky Sedgwick, Eve, 1995: “Queer Sex Habits (Oh, no! I mean)”. Available HTTP: http://duke.edu/~sedgwic/WRITING/HABITS.htm (accessed 9 August 2004).

Kosofsky Sedgwick, Eve, 2003: Touching Feeling. Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. Durham and London, Duke University Press.

Kristeva, Julia, 1997: “Motherhood According to Giovanni Bellini”, excerpted from: Desire in Language. In: Oliver, Kelly, ed.: The Portable Kristeva. New York, Columbia University Press.

Lacan, Jacques, 1995: Le Seminaire livre XX. Lisa Jardine trans. Quoted in: Jardine, Lisa, 1990: “The Politics of Impenetrability”. In: Brennan, Teresa, ed.: Between Feminism and Psychoanalysis. London, Routledge.

Lynd, Helen Merrel, 1958: On Shame and the Search for Identity. New York, Harcourt, Brace and Company.

Munt, Sally R., 2008: Queer Attachments. The Cultural Politics of Shame. Hampshire, Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Newman, Zoë, 2001: “The Bisexuality Wars: The Perils of Identity and Marginality”. In: Goldie, Terry, ed.: In a Queer Country: Gay and Lesbian Studies in the Canadian Context. Vancouver, Arsenal Pulp Press.

Oliver, Kelly, 1997: “Introduction”. In: The Portable Kristeva. New York, Columbia University Press.

Pattison, Stephen, 2000: Shame: Theory, Therapy, Theology. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Plato, 2000: Symposium and Phaedrus. Tom Griffith trans. London, Everyman’s Library.

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel: “Eden’s Bower”. Available HTTP: http://geocities.com/mahtezcatpoc/edens.html (accessed 16 June 2004).

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel: “Lilith.” Available HTTP: http://lilitu.com/lilith/lilpoem.html (accessed 1 February 2010).

Sartre, Jean-Paul, 1996: Being and Nothingness. Hazel E. Barnes trans. New York, Washington Square Press.

Szatanik, Zuzanna, 2007: “Womans’s Shame and Feminine Conception”. In: Open Letter. A Canadian Journal of Writing and Theory. No 3. Ontario, CA, Ontario Arts Council: 91—100.

The King James Study Bible, 1981. The United Stated of America, Thomas Nelson Publishers.


Szatanik, Z. (1). Transgressive Shame / Transgressing Shame Reflections on Lorna Crozier’s Poetic Revision of the Christian Myth of the Fall. Romanica Silesiana, 5(1). Pobrano z https://www.journals.us.edu.pl/index.php/RS/article/view/5776

Zuzanna Szatanik  zuzanna.szatanik@us.edu.pl