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Discoveries of the other : alterity in the work of Leonard Cohen, Hubert Aquin, Michael Ondaatje, and Nicole Brossard

Author: Winfried Siemerling
Publisher: Toronto ; Buffalo : University of Toronto Press, ©1994.
Series: Theory/culture series.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Winfried Siemerling examines alterity in the work of four innovative postmodern authors, exploring self and other as textual figures of the unknown. Subjectivity appears mediated, in these texts, by a self-reflexive work in language, seeking to grasp itself in relation to a significant and often fascinating, but also enigmatic, other. Siemerling notes that the question of the other constitutes the opening or gap of
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Siemerling, Winfried, 1956-
Discoveries of the other.
Toronto ; Buffalo : University of Toronto Press, ©1994
(OCoLC)625123621
Named Person: Leonard Cohen; Hubert Aquin; Michael Ondaatje; Nicole Brossard; Leonard Cohen; Hubert Aquin; Michael Ondaatje; Nicole Brossard; Hubert Aquin; Nicole Brossard; Leonard Cohen; Michael Ondaatje; Hubert Aquin; Nicole Brossard
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Winfried Siemerling
ISBN: 0802005179 9780802005175
OCLC Number: 29912589
Description: viii, 259 pages ; 24 cm.
Contents: 1. Introduction: Discoveries of the Other --
2. Hailed by Koan: Leonard Cohen and the Aesthetics of Loss. Poet, Priest, and Prophet: Community and the Production of the Other. Praying for Translation: Beautiful Losers and the Revenge of Names --
3. Hubert Aquin: Language and Legitimation. An Other('s) Eye. An Other('s) Past. Language, Legitimation, Representation. Alterity, AlterNation, AlterNative: Symmetry and Rupture in Prochain Episode and Trou de memoire. Prochain Episode and the Originality of the Other: A Battle of Symmetries? The F(l)ight of Reason: Trou de memoire --
4. 'Scared by the Company of the Mirror': Temptations of Identity and Limits of Control in the Work of Michael Ondaatje. 'Governed by Fears of Certainty'. Sonographs of a Star in the Mirror: 'Author and Hero' in Coming Through Slaughter. Enacting Metaphor: Running in the Family. 'Lights': Oral History and the Writing of the Other in In the Skin of a Lion.
Series Title: Theory/culture series.
Responsibility: Winfried Siemerling.

Abstract:

Winfried Siemerling examines alterity in the work of four innovative postmodern authors, exploring self and other as textual figures of the unknown. Subjectivity appears mediated, in these texts, by a self-reflexive work in language, seeking to grasp itself in relation to a significant and often fascinating, but also enigmatic, other. Siemerling notes that the question of the other constitutes the opening or gap of knowledge that sets the texts in motion. Because the other shows a marked tendency to escape conclusive definition, however, an articulation of the limits of knowledge becomes the condition under which the discovering subject itself apprehends its own precarious being.

The texts examined open the space between 'heterological' and 'thetic' moments of alterity. Siemerling explores Cohen's ways of eluding the self-imprisonment of a subject that names and defines the other. Cohen also uses ironic strategies in which the speaking 'I' turns against both itself and the addressee in order to confound thetic certainties. Hubert Aquin's work, responding to a Sartrean concept of alterity and the discourses of decolonization influenced by it, negotiates a historically defined Quebecois experience of domination by the other. The self-reflexive discoveries of the other in Michael Ondaatje's texts follow elusive figures that often appear adumbrated in the margins of history. In the domain of gender and sexuality, Nicole Brossard's texts similarly engage the double problematic of thetic alterity and heterology.

Siemerling concludes that the works under consideration offer heterological discoveries that maintain a productive 'negativity' (Kristeva) with respect to given knowledge and fixed articulations of self and other.

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