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identification is to contend with such fantasies by expelling them or by separating the “good” from the “bad” (in terms of pleasure/non-pleasure) & locating the former in some idealized object (most simply conceived as the psychological representation, however distorted, of a person). “Splitting is linked with increasing idealization of the ideal object,” writes Hannah Segal in her nearly canonical explanation, “in order to keep it far apart from the persecutory object and make it impervious to harm.”18 (The unborn woman of my heart, writes Luca — and nothing, you might say, more surely safeguards one from harm than not being born in the first place.) As for projective identification, to Segal, it has “manifold aims” & “may be directed toward the ideal object to avoid separation, or it may be directed towards the bad object to gain control of the source of danger.”19 (Upon her angelic flesh I endlessly project my convulsions, my fury.) This is all to say that, because he was writing under extreme conditions, Luca advanced in The Inventor of Love a poetic defense — not merely of self or the other, but of the workings and substance of love itself. His intention was in effect to preserve commitment to poetry as aligned with the surrealist project that exalted love and eroticism as a force for the transformation of everyday life. He did not take refuge, like Louis Aragon of “Zone Libre” — any number of similar contemporary instances might be cited — in manufacturing “poetry of the resistance.” In place of Aragon’s “sound of the broken heart” and “fragrance of tears,” Luca would imagine bestowing supreme homage upon the author of his five objects of love by “impaling her thorax of black marble with a knife in order to snatch her heart in my teeth for the rest of her life.”

But what, beyond generalities, were these dire and consequential conditions under which Luca was operating during World War II? Were they really so singular? In fact, Luca came of age and allied himself with surrealism during a period that is scarcely exhausted by reference to the “rise of fascism,” much less by the onset of the Holocaust. Far right-wing ascendancy in Romania was notable for excessive                                                                                                                       18 19

Hanna Segal, Introduction to the Work of Melanie Klein (New York: Basic Books, 1974) 27. Ibid.

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Gherasim Luca Centenary Issue  

Essays and reflections in English and French on Romanian surrealist Gherasim Luca, including Luca's own texts and art. Also featuring rumi...

Gherasim Luca Centenary Issue  

Essays and reflections in English and French on Romanian surrealist Gherasim Luca, including Luca's own texts and art. Also featuring rumi...

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