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Ashamed of Who I Am: Levinas and Diasporic Subjectivity in Salman Rushdie’s Shame
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, School Based Research, Teaching and Learning Language, Literature and Media. (CCD@JU)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3264-9173
2014 (English)In: Ethics and Poetics: Ethical Recognitions and Social Reconfigurations in Modern Narratives / [ed] Irina Goloubeva Rasmussen & Margrét Gunnarsdóttir Champion, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014, p. 81-107-Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper, I will inquire into the complex experience of shame that in Levinas seems essential to subjectivity in its encounter with others and further see how this might inform our understanding of Salman Rushdie’s novel Shame that deals with the notion of shame as expiatory. In Rushdie’s novel, it is the shamelessness of political power that becomes literally embodied in the character of Sufiya Zinobia who expiates for the unfelt shame of her father and is eventually taken over by the fiery and ravenous beast of shame in a twist of magical realism. It is the unfelt presence of shame, in other words, that seems to prevent truly ethical experience. The novel, I will argue, traces what Levinas in Otherwise than Being calls ‘the torsion of a complex’ that consciousness feels whenever it tries to excuse suffering. It is only in shame, in the presence of affect, Rushdie seems to suggest, that we revert back to the originary charity of being, to our humility and our compassion, sorely lacking in contemporary political consciousness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. p. 81-107-
Keywords [en]
Shame, Diaspora, Ethics, Levinas, Postcolonial Criticism, Bhabha
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-37481ISBN: 978-1-4438-5641-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-37481DiVA, id: diva2:1145945
Available from: 2017-10-01 Created: 2017-10-01 Last updated: 2017-10-12Bibliographically approved

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  • apa
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