By Marni Gauthier
This ebook exhibits how a political and cultural dynamic of amnesia and fact telling shapes literary structures of heritage. Gauthier makes a speciality of the works of Don DeLillo, Toni Morrison, Michelle Cliff, Bharati Mukherjee, and Julie Otsuka.
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Extra info for Amnesia and Redress in Contemporary American Fiction: Counterhistory
It is absurd to suppose that, because a historical discourse is cast in the mode of a narrative, it must be mythical [or] fictional. . If myth, literary fiction, and traditional historiography utilize the narrative mode of discourse, this is because they are all forms of language use. This in itself tells us nothing about their truthfulness. . Anyway, does anyone seriously believe that myth and literary fiction do not refer to the real world, tell truths about it, and provide useful knowledge of it?
For Foucault further explains, “If we were to characterize it in two terms, then ‘archaeology’ would be the appropriate methodology of this analysis of local discursivities, and ‘genealogy’ would be the tactics whereby, on the basis of the descriptions of these local discursivities, the subjected knowledges which were thus released would be brought into play” (Power 85). ” A Foucauldian genealogy that records the history of the development of humanity as a system of interpretations offers a model of history akin to the type of history that, I elaborate in chapter 3, Morrison’s Paradise ultimately argues for.
At the same time, with his assertion that criticism can “rediscover” “the ruptural effects of conflict and struggle” that various forces of institutionalized power “mask,” Foucault establishes effective history as a process of finding rather than inventing. For the purposes of this project, one of the most salient features of the poststructuralist critique of history is its emphasis that one such force of systemized power is traditional history— coextensive with nationbuilding—itself. Foucault’s suggestion that genealogical researches unearth contents of the past that have been hidden or disqualified by dominant practices of history writing is integral to this critique—which, nonetheless, is not novel to the postmodern era.
Amnesia and Redress in Contemporary American Fiction: Counterhistory by Marni Gauthier