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An 'Economics' of Snow and the Blank Page, or 'Writing' at the 'Margins':

'Deconstructing' 'Richard Jeffreies'?

1. Major approaches --

The editor: "The essay rejects the idea of a theoretical mode called deconstruction being an interpretation of the work of Jacques Derrida or 'what Jacque Derrida does'.  Instead,. .  . he shows in his reading how attention to details in a Derridean manner produces interesting insights into articulation of the narrative structure, its literary and cultural assumptions"  p. 16

"As we move through the fragments of readings which this essay contains, you'll notice that I return to various terms, themes and ideas, folding them back into the text, and changing your perceptions as you proceed.  . .  .I shall argue that 'Snowed Up' cannot be understood through any single theory or theoretical approach to what we call literature" (181).

"In the title and introduction, in the citations and the marginalia of footnotes I have, either directly or obliquely, announced certain themes which find themselves occuring in Derrida's texts: themes such as economic structures, writing, signatures, proper names, margins and the concept of marginality, limits, boundaries, borders and frames; what constitutes such figures, how we define, say, a margin as opposed to a center." p. 198 deconstruction as an internal critique

2. Edie as a self-reflexive writer as well as one written about: 

As a self-reflexive writer and one "being written/inscribed" into the text, Edie has multiple positions on the margin 185; --> "Truth"

3. Major Derridean Themes: 

1) The economy of writing & Edie and the gift; 

gift-giving and return -- ". . . in the process of giving gifts,  Derrida points out that no gift-giving is ever simply that, it is never just a giving.   For Derrida, implied in the act of giving a gift, implied even in the concept and logic of gift-giving is a moment of deconstruction; which is that the concept is always--always already--problematized by another type of logic which has nothing to do with gifts, gift giving or 'giftness.'  And this logic is the logic of economy, of economics.. . . This obligation [to give something in return] is ecnomic in its condition, it has a structure similar to other economic forms of exchange"  (189-90).  e.g. the gift of fur

2) the snow as a pure gift to Edie ? p. 192     

4. proper names; p. 194;   "Proper names, standing in for the absent author, announcing that absence and yet appearing to guarantee a yet-to-come, always deferred, presence, serve as origins or unifying signs, economical means by which various ideas, discourses, philosophies, ideologies which come to figure in any given text are gather together, as though the name guarantee the meaning or truth or definable source. .  .  

5. title p. 200-01;   Titles seem to support three axioms of literature:
(1) That a text has a unity or singular identity; 
(2) The text is supposed to have an author, another so-called guarantee of unity and singularlity; (3) all the events within the text gathered together by the name "Snowed Up" are related and that "this relation belongs to what we call literature."


--the two titles of "Snowed Up": "To borrow a pun of Derrida's about titles, the story/diary is decapitated, its head already off before we have even begun to read."

--do we give diaries titles?  
-- the 'otherness' of a text, resists interpretation.  211

 

6. date pp. 212- ;   p. 213 "[D]ating, says Derrida, "is signing."  Yet what, we might ask, is being signed?  

the paradoxical nature of dating: "the date, like the signature, exhibits the counter-logic of iterability: serving to fix for the future a specific and unique time and place, it can do so only on the basis of its readabiltiy, which is to say that it has to remain open to repetition and reinscription; its repeatability is a condition of its singularity." (Derek Attridge, in Derrida 1992 371)

7. hymen (in-betweenness)  pp. 218 -

hymen: replacing deconstruction for Derrida;
-- 'names "economically" the relation between inside and outside. .  .
--'says separation and the abolition of this proximity."  (220)
-- In Dissemination, Derrida pursues the Latin and Greek etymology of 'hymen' and related words to show how hymen is related to stitching, tissue, sewing, weaving, textile, spider-web, net, the text of a work, the weave of a song (a wedding song or song of mourning) (Derrida 1981a 213)(220)
--marked by double meaning; "a sign of fusion between identities." 221

Edie: ". . .Edie's writing is intimately connected with the maintenance of her virginity and the preservation of her hymen; and her writing and its abrupt breaking by someone who comes to sign himself 'Richard Jeffries' is related to the foreseeable loss of the hymen, beyond the text, but already inscribed in writing, in the figure of writing, which Edie acknowledges from the outset in her remarks about diary-keeping and marriage.  pp. 219-20

Edie: Edie's writing is hymenal in that it betrays the connection between pairings such as gift and property, gift and economic exchange, between dependence on the economic exchange for maintenance of the inside the household and the functioning of economics outside the house.  . .  . between the reader and the character, between herself as diary-keeper and the other characters. .  .

 

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