By Björn Krondorfer
Male Confessions examines how males open their intimate lives and techniques to the general public via confessional writing. This booklet examines writings—by St. Augustine, a Jewish ghetto policeman, an imprisoned Nazi offender, and a homosexual American theologian—that mirror honest makes an attempt at introspective and retrospective self-investigation, frequently prompted via a few wounding or rupture and by way of a transformative adventure. Krondorfer takes heavily the vulnerability uncovered in male self-disclosure whereas providing a critique of the non secular and gendered rhetoric hired in such discourse. The spiritual mind's eye, he argues, permits males to speak about their intimate, unsuitable, and sinful selves with no need to sentence themselves or to worry self-erasure. Herein lies the best promise of those confessions: via baring their souls to judgment, those writers can also go beyond their self-imprisonment.
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Extra info for Male Confessions: Intimate Revelations and the Religious Imagination
It is this desire to know, Foster argues, “that the writer can use to gain complicity of the reader,” and thus the reader becomes “complicit with the motivations of the writer” (12–13). 26 We may forget to ask about what and who are missing in a text. We may neglect to ask whether male and female readers are differently seduced by a male confession. Or we may forget to ask with what perspective a reader, independent of his or her biological sex, identifies. “[Women] have unwittingly been trained to ‘read literature as men,’” laments Felman, “[and] to identify, that is, with introduction the dominating, male-centered perspective of the masculine protagonist, which always takes itself—misleadingly—to be a measure of the universal” (1993, 5).
Grotowski speaks of the “holy actor” who does not “exhibit his body, but annihilates it, burns it, frees it from every resistance to any psychic impulse [and] sacrifices it” (1969, 34). Holy actors are to undergo a rigorous training, in which they learn to transgress and transcend the social and physical limitations imposed on the body. To me, these ideas were liberating. I also intuited that Grotowski’s holy actor might not differ that much from the Christian male ascetic, but I lacked the knowledge and maturity to articulate this semblance.
Mirrors without divine depth present an image of man caught in pretense and vainglory. If Rilke’s modern ontologizing lyrics inspire our flight into poetic disembodiedness, Augustine’s Confessions of late antiquity testify to the torments of an embodied self. i n t e r l u d e On Mirrors A mirror is surface and depth, metaphor and matter, replica and trickster. Its material substance, consisting of a layer of aluminum deposited on a sheet of glass and of a sealed backside, is complemented and counteracted by its essential quality, which seems to remain punctured as a sieve.