Theodoros Chiotis

Resisting Subsumption: Autobiographical discourse as thought experiment in George Seferis’ Μέρες


In my paper I would like to investigate how autobiographical discourse often functions as a thought experiment in George Seferis’ Μέρες and his only complete novel Εξι Νύχτες στην Ακρόπολη. Autobiographical discourse far from being a self-referential writing prone to impasses should be considered in Seferis’ case as fertile ground wherein memory is a function effecting becomings as delineated in the writings of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. In the discussion concerning the practice of autobiographical discourse in George Seferis’ case I am going to make use of the mathematical theory of submanifolds as it seems a particularly useful model: autobiographical discourse might be viewed as a submanifold embedded in the flow of texts (fragmentary diary entries, novel) which forms the self. The act of keeping a diary is an expression of a topology wherein the speaking self, the enunciating self is at any given moment the sum of certain elements (e.g. Stratis Thalassinos); these elements are the subsets of another distinct process of self-contemplation and self-construction. The memory function driving the narrative of Μέρες and Εξι νύχτες στην Ακρόπολη often seems to be independent of a self or to doubt the self as a unified construct: the memory function in the autobiographical prose of Seferis often does not a priori refer to a specific self, creating a rhizome-self in the process. Memory in Μέρες and Εξι νύχτες στην Ακρόπολη does not have a recollecting function but rather a creative, evocative function. The self in Seferis is often nothing more than a set of events and facts embedded within the topography of a fluid subjectivity; the self often resists sublimation into the topography of this fluid, ever-changing subjectivity. The self in Μέρες and Εξι νύχτες στην Ακρόπολη is the self that not only lives through thought but a self that experiments with the very processes that produce it: a self that is a thought experiment in itself.

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