The rhetoric of revulsion has shaped French cultural modernity. This essay examines salient forms of nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literary disgust, then turns to écœurement (heartsickness) as a contemporary case study. Écœurement is key to the work of the philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy and the novelist and playwright Marie NDiaye. These thinkers embrace heartsickness as a state of exposure that unsettles discourses of philosophical mastery and practices of social refinement. The essay thus shows that the language of disgust is not necessarily reactionary and nostalgic—as has often been argued—but can enable new forms of collective resistance and attachment.

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