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Author Burlea, Suzana Raluca
Title Encountering the Suffering Other in Illness Narratives: Between the Memory of Suffering and the Suffering Memory
book jacket
Descript 240 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 72-05, Section: A, page: 1637
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Universite de Montreal (Canada), 2011
In this research I examine the intersubjective dimension of suffering which affects the relation of the sufferer to his/her lived body, time and space, as well as to his/her narrative identity and narrative memory. I argue that narrative voice constitutes the intersubjective relation in illness narratives that caregivers write about partners or spouses who suffered from brain cancer or Alzheimer's disease. My discussion draws on ethics, phenomenology, theories of embodiment, life-narratives studies, medical anthropology and sociology, and narratological theory. The object of my study is the embodied, subjective experience of suffering in illness narratives and the main focus is cast on suffering as loss of memory and loss of the narrative self. I analyse Frank Davey's diary How Linda Died, and John Bayley's memoirs Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch, and Iris and Her Friends: A Memoir of Memory and Desire. I explore how illness narratives as embodied stories constitute an ethical relation to the suffering Other who bears a lived impossibility of remembering. I situate the discussion of voice in the context of life-narratives and aim at filling in the theoretical gaps of sociological and anthropological approaches of voice in illness narratives. For this, I examine and question narratological studies of narrative voice and focalization. My own definition of narrative voice is based on Emmanuel Levinas's and Paul Ricoeur's ethics, Saint Augustine's interpretation of time, memory, and forgetfulness, and on Levinas's discussion of time as intersubjective relation. I suggest that "spontaneite bienveillante" (Ricoeur, Soi-meme comme un autre 222) modulates narrative voice as the attention towards the suffering Other whose voice is silenced. Reformulating the Augustinian definition of time that correlates the temporal modes with the reciting voice, I suggest that through the ethical stance towards the Other, voice is distended between the present voice of voice present, the present voice of voice past and the present voice of voice future. I show how the voice of the caregiver is inscribed by and inscribes itself in the interstices of an interrupted, suffering voice. I define life-narratives as textual interfaces between the self and the Other, between one's own voice and the sufferer's voice, as a mode of restoring the Other's narrative integrity
Keywords: suffering, pain, memory, ethics, illness narratives, other, voice, diary, memoir, autobiography
School code: 0992
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 72-05A
Subject Literature, Comparative
Literature, Modern
Alt Author Universite de Montreal (Canada)
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