Publication Date

April 2019

Advisor(s)

Sean McCann

Major

English, Sociology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This investigation is directed at the ways text exceeds itself. If literary representation is an elaborate system of lying—lying that is not quite untruth—then text posits always a meaning beyond the one represented on the page. The ungovernable quality of representation, its essential inadequacy and excess, suits the unruly nature of a reality that is unrecoverable and stubbornly resistant to representation. The best text can do, then, is offer its repeated attempts at tracing the contours of this reality. This effort interrogates the ways meaning rushes into language, filling in the spaces it leaves blank. Reality and representation, finally, both exceed each other; they overshoot, they undermine, they cross and double-cross. These entities are incommensurable, but in text, they find each other somewhere in the middle. A meaning absent to the language of text always finds its way back to the page.

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