This interview by H.L. Hix continues a series that began as multi-question interviews but now has taken the form of one-question “mini-interviews.” To ask a series of questions about a book is to keep returning to the book and thus to emphasize its opacity, to regard it as one would regard, say, a painting. To ask a single question, Hix tells himself, is to emphasize the book’s transparency, to regard it as one would a window, as what offers a vista, what frames for us a world. The subject of this interview is Touch to Affliction, by Nathalie Stephens, now known as Nathanaël.
H. L. Hix: Very near the end of the book appears this sentence: “What is city is vociferous and batters the body, your body and mine” (75). This seems to me to be a kind of culmination of the book’s pervasive concerns with the body and the city. Though the text itself names other writers, composers and cultural figures, this sentence made my mind run to Hobbes, and to this question: does it seem to you at all consonant with Touch to Affliction to construe it as (among its many other aspects) a counterposition to Hobbes’s Leviathan, his ultimately utopian metaphor of human society as a unity-in-multiplicity?