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.
Lyotard Jean-FrançoisLa condition postmoderne: rapport sur le savoir (Paris: Editions de Minuit1979); translated by Geoffrey Bennington as The Postmodern Condition: a Report on Knowledge (Manchester: Manchester University Press 1984).
Paul De ManAllegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau Nietzsche Rilke and Proust (New Haven: Yale University Press1979) and also J. Hillis Miller The Ethics of Reading: Kant de Man Eliot Trollope James and Benjamin (ny: Columbia University Press 1987).