Well, I think I finally 'got' the connection btw. Sartre and Foucault! Here's Sartre on the difference btw. an atheist and a Black Mass celebrant - could have been included in Foucault's 'History of Sexuality' and no one would have blinked an eye:

"The atheist doesn't bother about God because he had made up his mind once for all that God doesn't exist. But the priest who celebrates a Black Mass hates God because He is kind and flouts Him because He is respectable. He applies his will to the negation of the established order, but at the same time he preserves this order and asserts his belief in its existence more strongly than ever. If he ceased to do so for a single moment, the internal harmony of his conscience would be restored and Evil would be transformed on the spot into Good, with the result that he would transcend all orders which did not emanate from himself and would emerge in the void without God, without excuses and saddled with a total responsibility."

So, to participate in a binary structure - when one is participating on 'one side' in opposition to 'another' - is to inevitably further establish the power of that which you oppose (which is not to say that your opposition to the 'other' will necessarily fail to establish some power on your side as well). And there you have the problem with Victorian sexuality in a nutshell, if we apply this argument to Foucault's and Graham Robb's readings of the paradoxical nature of sexual prohibition in the 19th century.

On another note, this book goes far in positioning Baudelaire as one in a long line of artists committed to a still-vague conception of transcendence...I'm still wondering what that transcendent state looks like once you get there, but I somehow intuit what Sartre is talking about when he writes, "If [Baudelaire:] suppressed completely the spontaneity of the reflected consciousness, by doing so he arrived at an even better understanding of its nature. He knew that it was its nature to hurl itself outside itself, to transcend itself in order to attain an end. That is why he was, perhaps, the first to define man by what lay beyond him."

Totally!

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