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Centre for Research in Philosophy and Literature

Textures of Light: Vision and Touch in Irigaray, Levinas and Merleau-Ponty

Cathryn Vasseleu
Warwick Studies in European Philosophy

"In Textures of Light, Cathryn Vasseleu provides a strikingly original reading of Luce Irigaray's meditations on sight."
Martin Jay, University of California, Berkeley

"Textures of Light is an original, sophisticated and nuanced contribution to feminist theory and Irigaray scholarship. Cathryn Vasseleu also makes an outstanding contribution to reading Merleau-Ponty and Levinas in a way that adds a fascinating perspective to their standard interpreters."
Tina Chanter, Brown University

Since Plato, light has played a highly controversial role within philosophy. Light has often been privileged as a metaphor for objectivity and truth in Western thought, a status that has been challenged by recent feminist thought as a privileging of the masculine. Textures of Light presents a compelling new picture of this controversial metaphor and explores the role the visual plays in Western philosophy by examining the thoughts of Irigaray, Levinas and Merleau-Ponty.

Textures of Light is one of the first studies to challenge current interpretations by presenting Irigaray as a philosopher of both vision and touch. Cathryn Vasseleu also addresses the fundamental contribution made by Merleau-Ponty's anti-Platonic claims for the corporeal and social context of the visual and considers Levinas's critique of light as 'first experience'.

Textures of Light opens up new debates on feminist thought, phenomenology and the philosophical issues that surround sight. It will be essential reading for those studying continental and feminist philosophy and visual studies.

Cathryn Vasseleu is a Vice Chancellor's Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of New South Wales.