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Paths to The Erotic

Rochelle W.'s picture

I haven’t read much about eroticism, but I know have two essays on the topic under my belt. The First is an essay by Audre Lorde entitled “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power”, and the second is Williams’ essay “Yellowstone: The Erotics of Place”. In her essay Lorde defined the erotic in part as a deep feeling of satisfaction, not inherently sexual. One of the ways this manifests itself for her is the sharing of joy with another person. In Williams’ essay she wrote of a person’s joyous response to their echo. Her understanding of the echo extended past simply the sound that reverberates off of a surface. For her it was the land itself responding. An echo represented an interaction with the land. In her essay Lode doesn’t extend the meaning of the erotic to include the land. I think it’s interesting that both women arrived at the same place, a place of joy and satisfaction, by taking two very different paths. Did you understand the way Williams used the erotic in a similar, or different way than I did?



alexb2016's picture


Like you, I understood William's view of eroticism as non inherently sexual. After reading her essays, it seems as if eroticism is a return to one's most primal state; at least, that's what I translated from her essay "Cahoots With Coyote", in which she howls with "God's dogs". Returning to this almost primitive state allowed Williams to connect with nature on the most basic and pure level--even those who questioned her response to the Coyotes admitted that howling "just seemed like the natural thing to do". While sex is one of the most primal acts a human can commit, I don't think that sensuality is the appropriate way to define eroticism.