Inventing (a) life: deconstruction and the praxis and poiesis of narrative
Pont, Antonia 2010, Inventing (a) life: deconstruction and the praxis and poiesis of narrative, in AAWP 2010 : The Strange Bedfellows or Perfect Partners Papers : the refereed proceedings of the 15th conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs, 2010, The Australasian Association of Writing Programs, Melbourne, Vic., pp. 1-9.
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Deconstruction often sits awkwardly between the realm of literary studies and criticism, and philosophy proper. This paper explores the contribution that a deconstructive literacy might have for those engaged in writing narrative, as a practice and a product. Taking up Kristeva's reading of Arendt, and the Aristotelian categories of praxis and poiesis, it will be argued that the act of narrating life amounts to both the actual generation of the life it purports to describe, while also being a praxis in itself, one that need not produce anything, since the very act of engaging in/with it, leaves atraceless trace that itself is 'full of meaning'. Narrative, however, will not rest in either pole of Aristotle's binary structure. For Arendt, Kristeva will remind us, narrative is an activity that is very 'human', where we engender not just zoe, mere physiological life, but bios, a living that is not colonised by ends alone, and instead finding in itself a value, a fulfilment in its own process. Applied to the activity of story-making (autobiographical or otherwise), and also to pedagogical practice in the academy, this dual potential of narrative (at once to produce and to be an end unto itself) reframes the Beruf (calling) of creative writing. Deconstruction, in other words, assists us in appreciating the very ethical consequences of the labour of deciding where and when the story begins and ends, and who the protagonist is. Recalling us to the ontological implications of the thought of différance, this paper will attempt to demonstrate how the action of articulating the edges of story can be read as akin to that which turns the featureless flux of time into bios, or human life that, according to Arendt, is what goes missing under totalitarianism.
Field of Research
Socio Economic Objective
970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
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