The debt to pleasure

From The Guardian:

Hanif Kureishi explains how the work of the Japanese master Junichiro Tanizaki inspired him to write the screenplay for Venus.Pleasure_1

It was on a long train journey that I first read Junichiro Tanizaki’s novella Diary of a Mad Old Man (1961). It had been sent to me by an American friend who knew I’d just read Tanizaki’s novel The Key (1956). The Key concerns a middle-aged, ordinary couple with an adult daughter who still lives with them. From the ruins of what appears to be a long-dead marriage, something starts to stir. We like to believe – it is a common misconception – that erotic relationships only deteriorate, that there is nothing new that can happen between a long-established couple. This is something we are so certain of that it must be incorrect. A deep involvement may become so distressingly pleasurable that we might feel dangerously addicted. As such a relationship develops, distance might be required, as the relationship begins to feel dangerous, even incestuous.

The novel opens with a middle-aged man drugging his sexually cold wife in order to spend more time with her feet. The sexuality of both of them is in the process of being re-aroused by the constant presence in their house of their daughter’s fiancé. Here jealousy makes passion possible. As Lacan puts it, “The other holds the key to the object desired.”

More here.

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