It is that, since Sade, art has
overwhelmingly been the art of a heroism of Transgression, unprecedented
until then. A teenager who grows up reading Sade, Baudelaire, Lautréamont,
Rimbaud, Bataille, Artaud, Genet, Burroughs and many others, enters the
world of literature—and art in general—taking for granted this categorical
imperative of “transgressive heroism,” born almost a century and a half ago with
aesthetic modernity. But he very quickly realizes that the era of transgressive
heroism had indeed entered the parodic mode decades ago. There are still a
few creatures who seem to believe in the discrepant virtues of Transgression
in the first degree, but they are in general somewhat pitiful. The age of heroic
transgression certainly died with the assassination of Pier Paolo Pasolini, the
last “holy transgressor.”

Transgression and the Inexistent
A Philosophical Vocabulary
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem

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