Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Pilgrimage by Dorothy Richardson (Intro.)


If one were to characterise the approach of Dorothy Richardson to personal identity Narrativism would be a good place to qualify from. Is there such a system? Have I just made it up? In the novel series Pilgrimage Richardson as Miriam Henderson tells the story of herself to herself and to we readers, updating regularly, each bulletin a short novel. Her sense of herself is as a catenary of linked self-expression events. She is then like that self-service mini-market in Paris that proclaimed itself le self de selfs. I am reading the First Volume in the Virago Edition and also as a ebook from Internet Archive. Under both species then but in this case the printed form has the edge because the links are separated by white which does not appear in the scanned page. In the ebook sections are numbered in each chapter which hs a disjunctive effect. That sense of duration, a la Bergson, of a life rolled up and expressing itself in a moment is aided by a typographical device.

Does this construction of identity lead to a journey round one’s navel? Not in Richardson’s case but not being aware of biographical details I have no knowledge of how self-serving the account she gives of herself is.

More anon.

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