Foreword: The Exotics of Nowhere Acknowledgments Introduction Chronology: Victor Segalen (1878-1919) Essay on Exoticism Notes Other Works by Victor Segalen Available in English Selected Critical Works on Victor Segalen in English Index
Exoticism, by one definition, is "the charm of the unfamiliar". Scholar defines exoticism in and as the representation of one culture for consumption by another. Victor Segalen's important "Essay on Exoticism" reveals Exoticism as born of the age of imperialism, possessing both aesthetic and ontological value, while using it to uncover a significant cultural "otherness". An important and archetypical exoticist is the artist and writer , whose visual representations of people and landscapes were targeted at a French audience. While exoticism is closely linked to , it is not a movement necessarily associated with a particular time period or culture. Exoticism may take the form of , , or humanism.
In his Essay on Exoticism: An Aesthetics of Diversity, Victor Segalen successfully redefines the words exoticism and diversity. He does this by defining each word separately,and stripping them of their connection and their familiarity in order to reconstruct and purify them. He does this in order to give each their own identity, their own individualistic characteristics. The modes in which Segalen redefines each word is through time (past, present, and future) and space, by means of the senses, education, nature/art, gender, travel, culture, religion, and humanity. In doing this, he also critiques non-exots and exots. Segalen induces us to become part of what is exotic, or different from what we know, but not to get too involved with the subject in order to experience diversity. We must feel an intense passion to look for and sense the differences in our life.