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Victor Segalen and the Aesthetics of
                        DiversityJourneys between Cultures$
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Charles Forsdick

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198160144

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198160144.001.0001

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(p.224) Conclusion
Victor Segalen and the Aesthetics of Diversity

Charles Forsdick

Oxford University Press

The Victor Segalen who has emerged from this reading is a complex, occasionally contradictory figure. His exoticism is a statement of the bipolarity of the experience of otherness, a precursory realization that in the meeting of self and other neither party has the guaranteed privilege of objectivity that description of the exotic is ultimately revelatory of the self. Segalen's aesthetics of exoticism is an early consideration of colonialism as a process of contact between cultures. Recent ascendancy of his status in the social sciences indicates Segalen's role as a precursory theorist of the exotic on whose distinction between difference and alterity current consideration of otherness increasingly draws. The figures of travel proposed in this study of Segalen remain those of his physical circumnavigation through Polynesia and China back to his native Brittany. The resultant Aesthetics of Diversity is one that stresses, however, the ultimate relativity not only of the exotic, but also of home itself.

Keywords:   Victor Segalen, exoticism, aesthetics, Aesthetics of Diversity, colonialism, self, otherness, objectivity, alterity, travel

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