Becoming Luciferian – On Subjects that are not Persons

Becoming Luciferian – On Subjects that are not Persons

In this seminar, we shall investigate what I would like to call Luciferian subjectivity. In texts such as “The Birth of Lucifer” and “The Winter Wind,” Roger Callois draws a distinction between the Luciferian and the Satanic in order to differentiate two tendencies within literary Romanticism: an individualizing tendency that pits the artist against society (the Satanic) and a counter tendency that pits this individual against its self (Luciferian). The Luciferian names an artistic sensibility and a type of experimental practice that seeks to break subjectivity from its identification with its self, its personhood. In this sense, we shall take Roger Callois’ own strange experimental attempts to induce psychasthenia, which he conceived as an “immense enterprise of experimentation and destruction”, as exemplary. The Luciferian thus sets itself in opposition to both the Christian concept of the spiritual self as located in the person and the liberal-legal-moral concept of the person as the seat of Freedom, obligation and Rights. In order to further specify what is at issue in this experience, we shall consider how it is possible to distinguish Subjectivity from Personhood, looking at the manner in which certain types of subject, e.g., the impersonator and the dandy, put their personality in question.
In addition to reading texts by Roger Caillois, we shall also have the occasion to discuss texts by Friedrich Nietzsche, George Bataille, Jacques Lacan, Marcel Mauss and Giorgio Agamben.