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Where I'm calling from : alterity and the other I of the unconcious

Prendergast, Julia 2012, Where I'm calling from : alterity and the other I of the unconcious, in Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs, [Australasian Association of Writing Programs], [Geelong, Vic.], pp. 1-13.

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Title Where I'm calling from : alterity and the other I of the unconcious
Author(s) Prendergast, Julia
Conference name Australasian Association of Writing Programs. Conference (17th : 2012 : Geelong, Vic.)
Conference location Geelong, Vic.
Conference dates 25-27 Nov. 2012
Title of proceedings Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs
Editor(s) [Unknown]
Publication date 2012
Conference series Australasian Association of Writing Programs. Conference
Start page 1
End page 13
Total pages 13
Publisher [Australasian Association of Writing Programs]
Place of publication [Geelong, Vic.]
Keyword(s) authorial intention
alterity
unconscious
Summary As I assess my fractured novel manuscript: a narrative in multiple first-person voices, I engage with writing that I produce at a primal/generative moment of narrative composition; I encounter writing that is both familiar and strange, known and other.

The sense in which I produce writing that is ‘other’ to me is intriguing. I recognise that a dichotomy between ‘self’ and ‘self-as-other’ exists in my writing and, in this, I am drawn to Derrida’s concept of alterity: to the idea that language is ghosted by the trace of the other. I am intrigued by the haunting shadow of trace: by the ‘other’ that simulates presence and makes the otherwise empty sign ‘full’ of meaning. 

When I acknowledge that my writing is at once strange and other, as well as familiar and known, I realise that the writing that I produce at a primal/generative moment of narrative composition is produced under the delusion of self-presence; it is produced under the delusion that meaning is present to consciousness ‘at a given moment’; it is produced when I am both ‘I’ and ‘not I’. This leads me to ask: What is my attitude to the effects that I produce when I am not I? What is my reaction when the other takes the floor?

To engage with these questions in the context of my fractured novel manuscript, is to engage with the possibilities for meaning that narrative, as a language map, encompasses; it is to engage in an inquiry about the relationship between language and semantic intention; it is to ask how my attitude toward the voice of the other in my writing affects the ‘finished’ product of the narrative text.

As I tackle these questions, I plot the operation of alterity; I plot the work of the unconscious as it operates at a primal/generative moment of narrative composition; I ask: how does the language of my fractured narrative mean? I ask: what is the relationship between meaning and authorial intention?

The concept of alterity explicates the ghostly shadow that lurks behind the sign, simulating presence and making the otherwise empty sign full of meaning. The concept of alterity therefore explains how my writing might be strange to me, in the sense that I am estranged from it (because it is not consciously, logically determined) but, simultaneously, how my writing is familiar, strangely familiar (in the sense of a latent, ghostly shadow, a web of unconscious associations).

Alterity recognises that the present (surface narrative) is infected by a past (primal/generative moment of narrative composition) that I cannot access in a definitive way.
Notes Encounters: place | situation | context
ISBN 9780980757361
Language eng
Field of Research 190402 Creative Writing (incl Playwriting)
Socio Economic Objective 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
Copyright notice ©2012, The Author
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30050320

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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Created: Sat, 26 Jan 2013, 13:12:21 EST by Julia Ruth Prendergast

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.