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(Im)Possible Representations: The Place of Negativity in Autobiographical Writing

(Im)Possible Representations: The Place of Negativity in Autobiographical Writing s i Mona l ivescu (Im)Possible Representations e P Th lace of Negativity in Autobiographical Writing e Th notion of apophatism is generally associated in contemporary discourse with the medieval Scholastic approach to Christian doctrine, more oe ft n referred to as “negative theology.” Negative theology, claiming the impossibility of fully knowing or naming transcendence or God, proposes alternative ways of giving expression to this ineffability, unnameability, and unknowability by using a series of rhetori - cal devices, such as negation, paradox, and ellipsis, to name only a few. What is less emphasized is that both classical and contemporary critical discourse tried to work apart from the theological and uncover in various ways an apophaticism or negativity inherent in any textuality, consisting in denial, silence, substitution, or renunciant minimalism.1 e Th eo ff rts of a Derrida, an Iser, a Blanchot, a Foucault, or a Culler to appropriate negativity as an omnipresent trope can be appreciated as an act aimed at recuperating a rhetoric of negativity as a proper domain of critical study. Although recent studies have insisted on identifying the presence of apo- phaticism in literature in general, an inquiry into how negativity can be located specic fi http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

(Im)Possible Representations: The Place of Negativity in Autobiographical Writing

The Comparatist , Volume 31 – May 29, 2007

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 the Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

s i Mona l ivescu (Im)Possible Representations e P Th lace of Negativity in Autobiographical Writing e Th notion of apophatism is generally associated in contemporary discourse with the medieval Scholastic approach to Christian doctrine, more oe ft n referred to as “negative theology.” Negative theology, claiming the impossibility of fully knowing or naming transcendence or God, proposes alternative ways of giving expression to this ineffability, unnameability, and unknowability by using a series of rhetori - cal devices, such as negation, paradox, and ellipsis, to name only a few. What is less emphasized is that both classical and contemporary critical discourse tried to work apart from the theological and uncover in various ways an apophaticism or negativity inherent in any textuality, consisting in denial, silence, substitution, or renunciant minimalism.1 e Th eo ff rts of a Derrida, an Iser, a Blanchot, a Foucault, or a Culler to appropriate negativity as an omnipresent trope can be appreciated as an act aimed at recuperating a rhetoric of negativity as a proper domain of critical study. Although recent studies have insisted on identifying the presence of apo- phaticism in literature in general, an inquiry into how negativity can be located specic fi

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 29, 2007

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