The Nothing That Is: Epistemologies of Creative Writing

Camelia Elias (Foredragsholder)

    Aktivitet: Tale eller præsentationForedrag og mundtlige bidrag


    Can nothing be knowledge? And if it can, what shape does it assume in relation to creativity and style? More than a matter of course, and rather more as a matter of style, some postmodern texts claim to be about nothing. The assumption is that literary imagination, when taking issue with the ‘nothing that is' in relation to what kind of message or knowledge such nothingness nonetheless construes, proposes, and transmits relies on a presupposed poetics of form as a stylized liminality. If thought not in terms of negative value, such as when ‘nothing' is conceptualized against the background of there being something, the idea of ‘nothing' opens up a liminal space where it can be considered a pure abstract, yet only through a stylistic manoeuvre. When ‘nothing' is represented, it is often represented through stylistic device as gap, ellipsis, blank page, or silence in the text. ‘Nothing' thus leaves a trace, as it is itself traced by sight (or site). In other words, when ‘nothing' is not thought of in terms of structural and binary relations, it can only be conceived of in terms of convergence towards the horizon of boundlessness. In formal philosophy methodology and convergence equals knowledge. In literature, methodology and convergence can easily equal or rather prefigure knowledge as nothing. As Franco Moretti put it: "near the border, figurality goes up." This paper will thus explore the following axioms: 1) in theory, there is nothing more elegant than ‘nothing'; and 2) in style, creative writing begins not in the chiasmic relation of ‘nothing' to style or nothing in style and style in nothing, but more in a relation of stripping: stripping style of theory. My central question here will revolve around what happens when form is stripped away by the power of nothing, and where that leaves the epistemic knowledge which is contingent on creativity.
    Periode26 nov. 2009
    BegivenhedstitelStyle in Theory/Styling Theory, Malta, November 26-28, 2009
    PlaceringValetta, Malta