Signifying Loss: Toward a Poetics of Narrative Mourning
Signifying Loss: Toward a Poetics of Narrative Mourning

Signifying Loss: Toward a Poetics of Narrative Mourning

by Nouri Gana


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By remapping the configurations of mourning across modernist, postmodernist, and postcolonial literatures, psychoanalysis and deconstruction (James Joyce, Jamaica Kincaid, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Elias Khoury, Sigmund Freud, and Jacques Derrida), Signifying Loss studies not only how loss is signified but also the ethico-political significance of such signifying. First, by examining the dynamics between narrative tropes and mourning, it elaborates a poetics of narrative mourning in which prosopopoeia becomes the master trope of mourning while catachresis the master trope of melancholia and chiasmus of trauma. Second, it develops a situated and flexible theory of mourning, capable of adjusting to diverse contexts in which the ethical and political stakes of mourning are different-in short, Signifying Loss calls for the formulation of geopolitical and differential tactics of mourning and mournability rather that for a clear cut strategy of inconsolability.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611480344
Publisher: Bucknell University Press
Publication date: 01/20/2011
Pages: 228
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Nouri Gana is assistant professor of comparative literature and Near Eastern languages and cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

Preface: The Poetics of Mourning 9

Acknowledgments 17

1 Thresholds of Mourning: Freud and After 21

2 Horizons of Desire, Horizons of Mourning: Joyce's Dubliners 47

3 The Vicissitudes of Melancholia in Freud and Joyce 72

4 Kincaid's Claim: The Poetics and Politics of Melancholia 90

5 The Ineluctable Modality of "Posthumous Infidelity": The Ethics of Mourning in Kincaid, Derrida, and Ben Jelloun 122

6 Formless Form: Elias Khoury's City Gates and the Poetics of Trauma 153

Coda: The Politics of Mourning 179

Notes 183

Bibliography 208

Index 219

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