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Criticism and the Non-I, or, Rachel Cusk’s Sentences

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Abstract

This chapter proposes a new way of thinking about the relationship between narrative and the question of literature’s historicity. First, it reconsiders the concept of the subject as it was variously deconstructed, banished, or radically redrawn in the moment of 1960s French structuralist anti-humanism. Second, it assesses free indirect style for its ability to produce narrative voices beyond the confines of the subject/object dichotomy. Finally, the chapter turns to the path-breaking sentences of the contemporary British novelist Rachel Cusk, who, it is argued, has constructed an immanent, unique theory-in-action of the literary subject, premised on a qualified evacuation of narrative-subjective interiority.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-71139-9_12
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Notes

  1. 1.

    I write at length about the journal across the totality of Eyers, Post-Rationalism. Crucial articles from the journal were translated and published in Hallward and Peden, Concept and Form. A superb open access website, featuring much of the journal in translation as well as useful synopses and concept definitions may be found at http://www.kingston.ac.uk/cahiers.

  2. 2.

    Hallward and Peden, Concept and Form, 91–103.

  3. 3.

    I cover the grounding of French anti-humanism in historical epistemology in Eyers, Post-Rationalism. See also Canguilhem, Vital Rationalist; Koyré, Infinite Universe; Bachelard, Atomistic Intuitions; Cavaillès, Theory of Science.

  4. 4.

    Hallward and Peden, Concept and Form, 159–87.

  5. 5.

    Hallward and Peden, 160.

  6. 6.

    Hallward and Peden, 100.

  7. 7.

    Gunn, “Free Indirect Discourse.”

  8. 8.

    Flaubert, Madame Bovary,189.

  9. 9.

    Cusk, Outline, 15–16.

  10. 10.

    Thurman, “Cusk Gut-Renovates the Novel.”

  11. 11.

    Cusk, Outline, 16–17.

  12. 12.

    Moretti, Bourgeois, 96.

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Correspondence to Tom Eyers .

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Eyers, T. (2021). Criticism and the Non-I, or, Rachel Cusk’s Sentences. In: Sridhar, A., Hosseini, M.A., Attridge, D. (eds) The Work of Reading. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-71139-9_12

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