Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

Responses of Crimes Against Humanity and the Limits of Narratology in a Post-Human Horizon

Author: Idit ALPHANDARY, Senior Lecturer of Tel Aviv University



In this paper I examine poems by Dan Pagis and Paul Celan. I argue that these poems are beyond narrative not just because they are poems, not prose for narratology knows how to explain poetry too.  Yet more important, these poems are thematically related to questions of resentment and forgiveness in response to crimes against humanity. The paper exemplifies that narratology is a science based on the institution of the subject while the poems that I examine function in a post-human horizon that renders subjectivity complicated or impossible. The desire to produce a life-story that causes the subject to be whole again is foreign to texts that relate to crimes against humanity because those texts fight against known literary and psychoanalytical structures and architecture. The dominant motifs and themes in the poems stretch narrative theory to its limits to the point that a full understanding of the poems emerges beyond narrative and in relation to philosophical understandings of biopolitics, bare life, response, and responsibility. I explain Georges Bataille’s argument against narrative architecture at the same time that I explore the concept of bare life that emerges from both the philosophies of Foucault and Agamben. At this final stage I give an interpretation of the poems that shows how they address and affect bare life without reciprocating in violence and without becoming transcendental.



Bare Life, forgiveness, resentment, architecture, narratology


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