Memory in Exile

In: Research in Phenomenology
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  • 1 Södertörn University

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In this article, a discussion about memory in exile is presented that takes up the thesis that exile is a condition of post-existence and afterness. The main claim is that exile is not only existence after a cut and separation but is an existing as afterness, in a “present tension” of being with the without and without a with. It reveals a sense of the present and of presence as multi-directed movements, as clusters of echoes and delayings. In exile, memories are not the continuous simultaneity of double images but are rather “photisms,” shimmering between images, the coming and going between languages, experiences, a longing back and forth. Exilic memory is the experience that bears witness to the present as the movement of presencing, of appearing while sliding away.

  • 1

    Lyotard, Jean-François, La condition postmoderne: rapport sur le savoir (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1979); translated by Geoffrey Bennington as The Postmodern Condition: a Report on Knowledge (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984).

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  • 2

    Foucault, Michel, Les mots et les choses: une archéologie des sciences humaines (Paris: Gallimard, 1995); The Order of Things: an Archaeology of the Human Sciences (London: Routledge, 1989).

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  • 6

    Richter, Gerhard, Afterness: Figures of Following in Modern Thought and Aesthetics (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011).

  • 10

    Nabokov, Vladimir, Lectures on literature (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980).

  • 11

    Paul De Man, Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979) and also J. Hillis Miller, The Ethics of Reading: Kant, de Man, Eliot, Trollope, James, and Benjamin (ny: Columbia University Press, 1987).

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  • 12

    Edward Hallett Carr, The Romantic Exiles: a Nineteenth-Century Portrait Gallery (London: Victor Gollancz, 1933).

  • 13

    Anders Olsson, Ordens asyl: inledning till den moderna exillitteraturen (Stockholm: Bonnier, 2011).

  • 15

    Galin Tihanov, “De-Romanticizing Exile” in Critique of Cosmopolitan Reason: Timing and Spacing the Concept of World Citizenship, ed. Rebecka Letteval and Kristian Petrov (New York: Peter Lang, 2013).

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  • 21

    Ibid., 143–144.

  • 26

    See here John Sallis, Force of Imagination: the Sense of the Elemental (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000).

  • 27

    Diderot, Élements de physiologie (Paris: Didier, 1964).

  • 30

    Derrida, Dialanguages, 143.

  • 32

    Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited (London: Penguin Books, 1967).

  • 33

    Edward Saïd, Reflections on Exile and Other Literary & Cultural Essays (London: Granta, 2000), 186.

  • 34

    Nabokov, Speak, Memory, 29.

  • 36

    Ibid., 22.

  • 37

    Sachs, Nelly, “Kommt einer von ferne” in Werke, Band 2 (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2010), Translated by Peter Hanly.

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