Introduction. A Clutch of Brothers: Alterity and Autothanatography

E. S. Burt

in Regard for the Other

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230907
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235575 | DOI:
Introduction. A Clutch of Brothers: Alterity and Autothanatography

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This introductory chapter begins by presenting the book's rationales for pushing the discussion of the other in autobiography toward a consideration of an alterity outside the subject's categories, all of which address its open-endedness and its specificity as written text. It then explains the reasons behind the focus on Rousseau. It argues that if one doesn't pay attention to the text as witnessing to the subject's death, one neglects that it proposes new, extramural transactions instead of simply reporting on past ones. The subsequent chapters are driven by the urgent sense that, in the midst of the current critical dialogue on cultural diversity, on nationalisms and transnationalisms, we have ever and again to look at texts that have done more than simply make use of already extant modes for reporting on the I's love for, exclusion of, or dispossession by the other. It is, rather, the possibility of collecting and calculating in advance with what exceeds the subject—and in doing so, of making the subject responsible to and for what lies outside knowledge as its conditions—that there is potential to consider autobiography as providing surprises, something more than the confirmation of previous models.

Keywords: autobiography; autobiographical writing; alterity; Rousseau; open-endedness

Chapter.  13777 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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