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States of Fancy

Angelaki , Volume 13 (3): 1-16 – Dec 1, 2008


© 2009 Informa plc
Cultural Studies
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States of Fancy


i introduction This paper is concerned with constructions of identities in narrative texts. 1 The Scottish writer A.L. Kennedy has compared voice with a river that collects affluents (others' voices). 2 On another occasion, reading for the Aye Write! Festival in Glasgow, Kennedy spoke about her experiences as a student of drama who had to cite another's voice. Kennedy showed her conviction that using another's voice (the specific example was acting roles from Shakespeare's plays) “unleashes a force that transforms the actor as well as the members of the audience.” 3 Kennedy's point has suggested the main line of investigation of this paper: an examination of how narratives in which we inevitably cite others' voices influence our presentations of ourselves to ourselves and to others in discursive interaction. The theoretical argument of this essay can be summarised as follows: identities are fantasised in the recesses of the mind. In order to express these fantasies, and thus flesh out our social identity, we cite, to an extent, from others' narratives. These acts of citation shape our perceptions of ourselves and of others as we negotiate, helped by these narratives, subjective identities and acceptable socialisation scenarios. These negotiations can only
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