The Centre for the History of European Discourses was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

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This paper begins with a discussion of one of the less commonly noted aspects of the Freudian Oedipal metaphor of societal evolution. For Freud, of all the desires colonised in the masculine work of civilisation, anal and excretory pleasures bear a special relationship to bourgeois conformity in the capitalist economic order. By examining a range of ethnographic and anthropological texts it will be shown that at the fin-de-siecle there was a prevalent if often unstated assumption that excretory taboo was linked to the sublimation of desires that enabled Europe to be 'civilised' in opposition to the 'primitive' world it had colonised. Mid to late nineteenth-century discourses of urban planning, disease control and sewerage technologisation moreover suggest that a sense of cleanliness and odourlessness was central to the modern European city and to the social distinction of its elite classes in particular. But while excrement was increasingly imagined as something to be subterraneously abjected and sanitised, metaphors of money as shit spilled out onto the surface of the conscious mind in a range of cultural expressions. Anal humour reached its pinnacle in the performance of the Pujol le Petomane whose spectacular anus draw sell-out crowds of Parisian bourgeois to the Moulin Rouge in the 1890s. The popular presses found special titillation in mocking the wealth supposedly gleaned by Pujol for his anal acrobatics- here again a special relationship was imagined between excretion and money.

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