November 26, 2010

“As Individual And Family Security, Inheritance Was An Aesthetic And A Morality.” Herve Juvin

“Between the members of a family, transmission of an inheritance fulfilled a function entirely different from the commonplace business of preserving wealth. It underpinned that distinction that rituals, conventions and codes build up between their adepts as shared wealth and access to individuality. A repertoire of courtesies, precedences, formulae… It enabled the individual to choose his or her own interpretation of a given role, in a pre-existing narrative, and the faculty to construct himself using ready-made forms, by mobilizing a range of feelings, of relations, already established. As individual and family security, inheritance was an aesthetic and a morality. The assets, even on the notary’s parchment, had a savor, a scent… Who said anything about money? The family bond used to be maintained less by blood kinship and obligatory, explicit affection than by those shared sensations from beyond the narrative and even beyond memory: kitchen recipes carefully passed on, sauces and bouquet garni as rituals of belonging, housekeeping and culinary codes surviving stubbornly through the generations, gestures, postures and courtesies equivalent to passwords, a laisser-passer restoring the underlying complicity to structures behind all the words, differences and disagreements; and over it all, the mythical narrative of great moments, major ordeals of life victoriously confronted and surmounted by the ancients, statements like passports that, from cradle to grave, would ensure a place in the lineage.”

“And money aspires to pay for what cannot be bought, on behalf of people who people whose wealth it ensures while impoverishing them of themselves, in an arabesque of involuntary, copious and dramatic irony.”

Pp 105-6

Herve Juvin, 2010: The Coming Of The Body. Translation by John Howe.Verso, London

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editor @ 9:46 pm

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