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O “cuidado de si” em Platão e em Balzac: algumas páginas da história da subjetividade

Author(s): Fausto Calaça Galvão de Castro | Terezinha de Camargo Viana | Olivier Bara

Journal: Revista Mal-estar e Subjetividade
ISSN 1518-6148

Volume: 10;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 1271;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Self. Subjectification. The care of the self. Dandyism. La Comédie humaine. Alcibiades.

The article aims to go through the history of the subjectivity in the Occident from the theme “the care of the self”, according to Michel Foucault. The proposal is to debate the subjective processes in the literary studies, and it has as objective to present the invention of the care of the self in the Plato’s dialogue Alcibiades, its transformations into some literary and philosophic works, especially its meanings in the literary work Father Goriot by Honoré de Balzac. We discuss how the dandyism in the 19th Century could represent a second golden age of history of the care of the self, and we also question if it could represent a root of contemporary subjectivity. In the Antiquity period, the care of the self is a work of the character to improve himself, and, this way, to venture himself in the politics life and take control of power and destiny of the polis. In early 19th Century, the objective of the care of the self will be the individual fulfillment of a wish: to be part of the Parisian Nobility and take in his hands his own destiny. The dandy character is a model of subject which is encouraged to govern himself in order to be free, instead of having to cooperate with his own subjection. However, we interpret in Balzac a “degraded” way of the care of the self, in relation to the Socratic model, once the very socio-political context is “degraded”. In the perspective of our study, we consider the literary text a relevant way of representation and production of subjectivity which has to be discussed with studies of subjectivity of human sciences.
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