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"We were touched by his talking" : The Woman Who Escaped from Shame, de Toby Olson

Résumé : This paper borrows its title from one narrator’s comment in Toby Olson’s third novel, in order to try and define the experience of being “touched” by storytelling, and by writing : or, what sort of “touch” may occur on the unstable, evasive limit between body and meaning ? The article discusses the many narrative mediations and obstacles presiding over this story of subjected and liberated bodies, and analyses the radical dissociation established by Olson between seeing and understanding. This serves an exploration of the somehow fabulous power to challenge, mobilize, and displace knowledge and meaning which is granted to the miniature animal bodies accompanying the affected human bodies throughout the novel. The paper then offers some remarks on reading as discontinuous tensions between meaning effects and presence effects, or else as pensive “leaps” inherent in aesthetic experience.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 20, 2017 - 4:23:14 PM
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Anne Battesti. "We were touched by his talking" : The Woman Who Escaped from Shame, de Toby Olson. Revue Française d'Etudes Américaines, Paris : Association Française d'études américaines, 2013, Poétiques du corps (132), pp.105--120. ⟨10.3917/rfea.132.0105⟩. ⟨hal-01639945⟩

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