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AfternessFigures of Following in Modern Thought and Aesthetics$
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Gerhard Richter

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157704

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157704.001.0001

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Afterness and Experience (III)

Afterness and Experience (III)

Mourning, Memory, and the Fictions of Anteriority

(p.186) 10 Afterness and Experience (III)

Gerhard Richter

Columbia University Press

This chapter deals with questions of memory, recollection, and remembrance as instantiations of afterness. Focusing on Jacques Derrida’s reworking of the two Hegelian concepts of memory for which there is only one English term, Gedächtnis and Erinnerung, the chapter shows how instances of historical and personal memory illustrate an afterness that vexingly complicates the historical relationship of past to present, of recollection to futurity. Engaging Derrida’s language of mourning as it emerges in several of his texts, it argues that what he calls the “fiction of anteriority” sheds light on an entire modern preoccupation with containing the specters of following and its inevitable afterness. For Derrida, the task is to call into question the notion of an anteriority unencumbered by the elusiveness of self-presence that our experience of presence as present contemporaneity so intractably stages.

Keywords:   memory, recollection, remembrance, afterness, Jacques Derrida, Gedächtnis, Erinnerung, mourning, fiction of anteriority, experience

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