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Den odödliga historien: narrationen, händelsen och det förflutna
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS).
2012 (Swedish)In: Scandia, ISSN 0036-5483, Vol. 78, no 1, 11-34 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Through a reading of Karen Blixen's short story 'The immortal Story', the author explores the limits of historiography and the risks of confusing narrative with lived life. By critically examining the work of the philosopher Adriana Cavarero and the historian Frank Ankersmitt, the idea that narrative constitutes subjecthood is questioned. Instead, negativity and the death drive, as elaborated on in the work of literary scholar Lee Edelman, are used to demonstrate how the life of Mr Clay, the main character in the novel, is positioned as completely meaningless because of his lack of a narrative. While Cavarero shares Blixen's contempt for Mr Clay, rejecting his attempt to re-enact an old sailor's tale, this article suggests another approach based on a constitutive excess of the presented (positions, events) rather than an excess of representations (stories, narratives, etc.), where Mr Clay can be seen as struggling to demonstrate this ontological fact. It is argued that the inability to acknowledge the de-radicalizing limits of representation is symptomatic of a hermeneutic understanding of life and history, where meaning and comprehension are only acknowledged when neatly packaged as narration and continuity. To propose another view of the past, the author introduces the philosopher Quentin Meillassoux's critique of phenomenology and Alain Badiou's concept of the event, where the historians' main methodology - that of historicizing -not only becomes superfluous as a method, but is also revealed as the main culprit in the de-radicalization of both the past and the present. It behoves historians to scrutinize the foundations on which they build their research and to contemplate other methods and theories hitherto thought inapplicable where segmented or anachronistic history based on a strong affiliation ('fidelity') with ideology may be one example.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 78, no 1, 11-34 p.
Keyword [en]
narrative, sinthomosexual, Adriana Cavarero, the Event, storytelling
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-57402ISI: 000305313300002OAI: diva2:541244
Available from: 2012-07-16 Created: 2012-07-16 Last updated: 2013-01-21Bibliographically approved

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Edenheim, Sara
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