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(2014) Encounters in performance philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer.

Downscaling lamentation

on trope and fratricide

Nimrod Reitman

pp. 238-258

It is not clear whether poignant and pained acts of utterance, such as those contained by lamentation, belong to performance or rather indicate the refusal of performance. By its very nature lamentation must disavow its performative value, for no rhetoric is adequate to the sorrow that it seeks to carry. Lamentation is burdened by its very ability to say pain since it involves the language of the unsayable. It is as if lamentation could not afford to indulge a stance of melancholic jouissance, a kind of pleasure effect taken in the very expression of its suffering. Pervasive, yet largely abandoned to its own fate as sub-genre and phenomenon, lamentation has no secure place in philosophical discourse. This is all the more perplexing since philosophy has never been shy about confronting the edges of pain, fear, terror, and trembling. In any case, philosophy abdicates its hold on liminal affect, turning the materials of lament over to the authority of music. Language does not want to let go, however, striking a compromise with music by reverting, in critical phases, to furtive expressions such as the echo and the murmur.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9781137462725_12

Full citation:

Reitman, N. (2014)., Downscaling lamentation: on trope and fratricide, in L. Cull & A. Lagaay (eds.), Encounters in performance philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 238-258.

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