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Ostranenie: On Shame and Knowing

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ISBN: 9780615744797 Year: Pages: 50 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0019.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:45
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Abstract

Ostranenie, the term for defamiliarization introduced by Russian writer and critic Victor Shklovsky, means, among other things, to see in strangeness. To see in strangeness is to participate in an illusion that is more real than real. It may be achieved by (re)presenting the surface as the substance, the play as the thing, or by examining (from exigere: to drive out) what is present before one’s eyes. Ultimately, ostranenie means confessing one’s complicity in making known what is known. M.H. Bowker’s Ostranenie: On Shame and Knowing is a meditation upon the moment of a mother’s death: a moment of defamiliarization in several senses. The body of the work consists of footnotes which elaborate, by exegesis, by parataxis, and sometimes by surprise, the intimate and often hidden relationships between parent and child, illusion and knowledge, shame and loss. These elaborations raise questions about the power of the familiar, the limitations of discursive thought, and the paradoxical nature of the interpersonal, political, and spiritual bargains we make for the sake of security and freedom.

Keywords

memoir --- family --- therapy --- shame --- poetry

Aural History

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ISBN: 9781950192670 9781950192687 Year: Pages: 324 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0282.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Psychology --- History
Added to DOAB on : 2020-01-25 11:21:03
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Aural History is an anti-memoir memoir of encountering devastating grief that uses experimental storytelling to recreate the winding, fractured path of loss and transformation.Written by a thirty-something psychotherapist and queer theorist, Aural History is structured as a sequence of three sections that each use different narrative styles to represent a distinctive stage in the protagonist’s evolving relationship to trauma. Aural History explores how a cascade of self-dissolving losses crisscrosses a girl’s coming of age.Through lyric prose, the first section follows a precocious tomboy whose fierce attachment to her father forces her, when he dies and she is twelve years old, to run the family bakery business, raise a delinquent younger brother, and take care of a destructive, volatile mother.In part two, scenes narrated in the third person illustrate a high-achieving high school student who is articulate and in control except for bouts of sudden and inchoate attractions, the first of which is to her severe and coaxing English teacher.The third story tells of her relation with a riveting, world-famous professor, interspersed with a tragic-comic series of dialogues between the protagonist and a cast of diverse psychotherapists as she, now twenty-five years old and living in New York City, undertakes an odyssey to understand why true self-knowledge remains elusive and her real feelings, choked and incomplete.In what Phillip Lopate calls “an amazing document,” Aural History pushes the narrative conventions of memoir to capture a story the genre of memoir usually struggles to tell: that you can lose yourself, and have no way to know it.

Keywords

psychoanalysis --- queer theory --- trauma --- memoir --- therapy --- childhood

Take Her, She's Yours

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ISBN: 9781950192816 Year: Pages: 216 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0290.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: History --- Psychiatry --- Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2020-05-04 10:28:41
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We say, you belong to me, or I belong to you. But is it possible to be possessed by others? And can we ever possess ourselves? In this raw and intimate account, Eva-Lynn Jagoe merges memoir with critical theory as she recounts the unraveling of everything she thought she knew about selfhood, relationships, and desire. Through the story of an upbringing in a patriarchal Spanish and American household, a dissociative and painful relationship towards men and power, and a chaotic marriage and divorce, she interrogates the destructive fantasy of possessive individualism that permeates our psyches and our cultural expectations. Woven through this narrative is an account of the unique relationship that Jagoe has with her psychoanalyst, in which she works through her tendency to give herself away to others, and learns to navigate the many contradictory selves that we all hold within us. This journey leads her to an enriched understanding of self-possession. Jagoe’s account of an examined life is inseparable from her commitment to the psychoanalytic, feminist, and queer theories that sustain and nourish her in her search for an expanded definition of self.Jagoe’s unique blend of musings and reflections on literature, fairy tale, and culture; her willingness to delve into abjection and contradictory desires; and her honest portrayal of the realities of psychoanalysis allow for a timely exploration of gender, sex, and power. Take Her, She’s Yours belongs in the company of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s A Dialogue on Love and the memoirs of Maggie Nelson, Rachel Cusk, and Lidia Yuknavitch. It engrossingly conveys the lived urgency of critical thinking and the pleasures and perils of embodied selfhood. Take Her, She’s Yours is a story about loss and letting go, but also about the intimacy that emerges through an expanded definition of selfhood.

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