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"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. This book is a test for everyone who claims, 'nothing human is foreign to me'!" -- Slavoj Zizek "The History of Shit is mesmerizing, important, and inspired, a perfectly balanced work where the unearthed information is as voluminous and revealing as Laporte's prose is fascinatingly abridged and exquisite." -- Dennis Cooper, author of Frisk
Dominique Laporte, who died in 1984 at the age of thirty-five, was a psychoanalyst and the coauthor of Francais national: Politique et practiques de la langue nationale sous la Revolution Francaise.