Unreal Nature

January 1, 2017

He Eludes Any Figurative Representation

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:41 am

… in which utterances (speech acts) is there a face and not a mask, that is, no authorship?

This is from Speech Genres & Other Late Essays by M.M. Bakhtin (1986):

… Contextual meaning is potentially infinite, but it can only be actualized when accompanied by another (other’s) meaning, if only by a question in the inner speech of the one who understands. Each time it must be accompanied by another contextual meaning in order to reveal new aspects of its own infinite nature (just as the word reveals its meaning only in context). Actual contextual meaning inheres not in one (single) meaning, but only in two meanings that meet and accompany one another.

[ … ]

… The I hides in the other and in others, it wants to be only an other for others, to enter completely into the world of others as an other, and to cast from itself the burden of being the only I (I-for-myself) in the world.

… The search for one’s own (authorial) voice. To be embodied, to become more clearly defined, to become less, to become more limited, more stupid. Not to remain tangential, to burst into the circle of life, to become one among other people. To cast off reservations, to cast off irony.

… The primary author cannot be an image. He eludes any figurative representation. When we try to imagine the primary author figuratively, we ourselves are creating his image, that is, we ourselves become the primary author of the image. The creating image (i.e. the primary author) can never enter into any image that he has created. The word of the primary author cannot be his own word. It must be consecrated by something higher and impersonal (by scientific argument, experiment, objective data, inspiration, intuition, authority, and so forth).

… In painting, the artist sometimes depicts himself (usually at the edge of the picture). The self-portrait. The artist depicts himself as an ordinary person and not as an artist, not as the creator of the picture.

… It is customary to speak about the authorial mask. But in which utterances (speech acts) is there a face and not a mask, that is, no authorship? The form of authorship depends on the genre of the utterance. The genre in turn is determined by the subject matter, goal, and situation of the utterance.

My most recent previous post from Bakhtin’s book is here.

-Julie

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