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Spectral History: Narrative, Nostalgia, and the Time of the I

Spectral History: Narrative, Nostalgia, and the Time of the I 83 Spectral History: Narrative, Nostalgia, and the Time of the I STEVEN GALT CROWELL Rice University "Perhaps you will find in the end that anonymity and death are the same," said Alfred Schutz to Maurice Natanson when the recently-minted Doctor of Social Science mentioned his plans to pursue investigations into those two subjects. Did the renowned philosopher who quoted this recollection thirty-three years later in concluding his philosophical homage to Schutz mean to affirm the curi- ous equation? Elusive as ever, he delivers only an "impression," cautioning that "in all transcendental work there remains at last a figure of indefinite reference, imperfectly formed"-not, he says, "an occult presence" but "a term of stub- born indeterminacy: recognition without identification, the music of aware- ness."' With Maurice Natanson's lifework now, sadly, complete, it is left to us to conjure this occult presence that is not one, to sound the music of aware- ness, to identify what can be recognized, indefinitely, in the trajectory of his philosophical concerns. I invoke his conversation with Schutz because it is the talisman of something that remains stubbornly indeterminate in his pages, a philosophy of spectral history that went unwritten. It is this that I http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Research in Phenomenology Brill

Spectral History: Narrative, Nostalgia, and the Time of the I

Research in Phenomenology , Volume 29 (1): 83 – Jan 1, 1999

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 1999 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0085-5553
eISSN
1569-1640
DOI
10.1163/156916499X00064
Publisher site
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Abstract

83 Spectral History: Narrative, Nostalgia, and the Time of the I STEVEN GALT CROWELL Rice University "Perhaps you will find in the end that anonymity and death are the same," said Alfred Schutz to Maurice Natanson when the recently-minted Doctor of Social Science mentioned his plans to pursue investigations into those two subjects. Did the renowned philosopher who quoted this recollection thirty-three years later in concluding his philosophical homage to Schutz mean to affirm the curi- ous equation? Elusive as ever, he delivers only an "impression," cautioning that "in all transcendental work there remains at last a figure of indefinite reference, imperfectly formed"-not, he says, "an occult presence" but "a term of stub- born indeterminacy: recognition without identification, the music of aware- ness."' With Maurice Natanson's lifework now, sadly, complete, it is left to us to conjure this occult presence that is not one, to sound the music of aware- ness, to identify what can be recognized, indefinitely, in the trajectory of his philosophical concerns. I invoke his conversation with Schutz because it is the talisman of something that remains stubbornly indeterminate in his pages, a philosophy of spectral history that went unwritten. It is this that I

Journal

Research in PhenomenologyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1999

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