Postponing Death. Injuring and Rewriting the Text
From the Arabian Nights to Ian Potocki’s Manuscript Found in Saragossa, from Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Petrolio, one of the main characteristics of frame narratives is the opposition between the literary text and imminent or eventual death. From such a perspective, a number of celebrated frame stories are intrinsically related to the practice of rewriting the text and, in a post-modern perspective, to eliciting such an exercise from the reader in order to postpone death, to highlight what Michel Foucault called the "mortal space where language speaks for itself" or, to quote Maurice Blanchot’s Literature and the Right to Death, to make the literary text the space where death is indefinitely suspended.
Because a resultant characteristic of such texts is to be ulcerated by corrections or to become the synthesis of conflicting redactions, it seems appropriate to juxtapose to such narrative structure the strategy of narrative wounding that Ian Fleishman has recently formulated in An Aesthetic of Injury with regard to several stung and stabbed texts by Charles Baudelaire, Franz Kafka and Georges Bataille: “in its effort to eradicate the difference between sign and referent, the metaphor begins to work both ways [...] making the textual wound itself into a figure of difference, of deferral, of ceaseless mediation” thus bringing into view the apparent powerlessness of literature.
This panel seeks to explore the practice of rewriting to postpone death and of injuring the text in French literature and encourages proposals based on but not limited to a comparative and multimedia approach.