Writing without Writing: Fragments and Survivance

deadline for submissions: 
September 23, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
ACLA 2020
contact email: 

Since the nineteenth century to the present, fragmentary writing has been widely deployed in literature and philosophy (i.e. Ernst Bloch, Schlegel, Mallarmé, Adorno, Maurice Blanchot, Kafka, Beckett etc.) as a strategy to disrupt the idea of totality by and through writing. Fragmentary writing as an incomplete totality, bears absent voices and traces and alludes to a whole. In its brevity, it reveals an unwritten space, discloses and encloses that which is not present in the text. As Maurice Blanchot in his essay “The Fragment Word” writes: “the fragment supposes an implied designation of something that has previously been or will subsequently be a whole.” Furthermore, Adorno in Aesthetic Theory notes that a literary fragment is constituted by a promise or memory of totalisation and asserts: “the fragment is that part of the totality of the work that opposes totality.” And recently Georges Didi-Huberman in his book Aperçues (2018) compiles fragments of texts in one book, as a whole and reflects on fragments in relation to trace and survivance. He argues, when events, moments and things disappear they leave traces behind, and --by delineating the semantics of the French word survivance (survival, living-on)-- characterizes these traces as a survivance (living-on, survival, afterlife) of a disappearance.  

Thus, by the token of and departing from the reflections above, this seminar invites papers to explore the idea and form of fragmentary writing in tandem with the idea of survivance (living-on, relic, survival). Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:  

-Can we talk about the totality of a fragment without referring to a (spectral) whole that precedes and follows it? Then, in this context, what do we talk about when we talk about totality?  

-Fragment as an incomplete complete 

-Poetics and politics of fragmentary writing  

-Dynamics of detachment and attachment: does fragmentary writing subvert the idea of a whole? 

-Presence of absent space(s) in, around and of fragments 

-The idea of the trace and fragment 

-Survivance and fragments: image, memory and time  

-Fragmented memories: nostalgia and trauma 

-Fragments, stories and philosophy

-Fragmented writing and poetry 


Please submit your proposal (max. 300 words) and a short bio. (max. 100 words) through ACLA portal by September 23, 2019. For any questions/concerns, please contact Busra Copuroglu at bcopurog@uwo.ca