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Reading, Writing, Being: Persians, Parisians, and the Scandal of Identity

Reading, Writing, Being: Persians, Parisians, and the Scandal of Identity on Matei Calinescu, in memorium (1934-2009) forum ChristiAn morArU You--that is, I--that is, you--I am you.... --Matei Calinescu (2004) In Romania, I learned nothing about Romania. --Ioan Petru Culianu, qtd. in Matei Calinescu (2002) One cannot read a book, Matei Calinescu echoes Nabokov in the epilogue to Rereading (1993); one can only reread it (277). But then, of course, the paradox--Barthes formulates it best apropos of his periodical returns to A la recherche du temps perdu--is that one does not, and practically speaking one cannot, reread the same book either. Proust, on whose novel Calinescu taught a whole course at Indiana in the fall of 1993, is here a case in point because reader after reader, Barthes included, have never gone back to the same passages of A la recherche du temps perdu (1913-1927), or to the same passages with the same intellectual fervor, emotional intensity, or motivation. This goes to show how fundamentally subjective, self-directed rereading and reading generally are. For, indeed, rereading is neither "objective," applied to an external "object" proper, nor iterative. We reread what we have already read not to read it again, to merely reenact a past, mainly text-oriented routine and thus recover http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png symploke University of Nebraska Press

Reading, Writing, Being: Persians, Parisians, and the Scandal of Identity

symploke , Volume 17 (1) – Oct 23, 2009

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Abstract

on Matei Calinescu, in memorium (1934-2009) forum ChristiAn morArU You--that is, I--that is, you--I am you.... --Matei Calinescu (2004) In Romania, I learned nothing about Romania. --Ioan Petru Culianu, qtd. in Matei Calinescu (2002) One cannot read a book, Matei Calinescu echoes Nabokov in the epilogue to Rereading (1993); one can only reread it (277). But then, of course, the paradox--Barthes formulates it best apropos of his periodical returns to A la recherche du temps perdu--is that one does not, and practically speaking one cannot, reread the same book either. Proust, on whose novel Calinescu taught a whole course at Indiana in the fall of 1993, is here a case in point because reader after reader, Barthes included, have never gone back to the same passages of A la recherche du temps perdu (1913-1927), or to the same passages with the same intellectual fervor, emotional intensity, or motivation. This goes to show how fundamentally subjective, self-directed rereading and reading generally are. For, indeed, rereading is neither "objective," applied to an external "object" proper, nor iterative. We reread what we have already read not to read it again, to merely reenact a past, mainly text-oriented routine and thus recover

Journal

symplokeUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Oct 23, 2009

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