“Escape is the oldest story of freedom. It is also the simplest.”


This post contained an draft version of a dissertation section. A more recent version is now available on the works page.

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2 thoughts on ““Escape is the oldest story of freedom. It is also the simplest.”

  1. Powerful writing. I’m reminded by a similar story Michael Hardt told about going to south America. It’s in a documentary with a name I can’t remember, but he’s paddling around on a boat while he tells the story.

    Maybe it was the same one that inspired you – all the same, I appreciate the style of telling stories without all too clear origins. It’s not only a powerful myth making tool (similar to ghost stories?), in the sense that we suddenly get the feeling that there are so many things happening that does not get caught up by encyclopaedias, snatched by news media or published in books. Rumours, tales and anecdotes does this. In a very concrete way it also creates ZOO in our writing. Because just maybe there was a published origin, where I – if I have friends inside the ZOO – can go and look for traces, find the hidden place and occupy it.

    Of course, the academic writing process forces you (at least in theory) into transparency. But I’m sure there are ways to escape that as well, and that most academics seek to do that already.

    How does your schedule look like for the dissertation? Excited to see where the writing will take you.

    1. I was tempted to not publish dissertation fragments, as I was afraid they were too fragile for public scrutiny, and anything negative would dash my paper-thin will to write. Your kind comments have convinced me otherwise.

      Years ago I used to provide a citation for every sentence I wrote. I would hunt through my books after typing a single positive claim, erecting a defense through careful footnoting. Only recently have I gained a voice of my own. Being in the humanities, I’ve found that I am able to distance myself even further from the social science habit of littering original thoughts with millions of perfunctory citations and asides. No doubt the French writing style I’m emulating has birthed an army of clones, all of whom have made careers commenting on the millions of hidden interlocutors and subtexts that authors refused to cite.

      You note the positive side to such a style, however. Writing with force while simultaneously giving a voice, often through free-indirect discourse, to multiple perspectives without feeling the need to resolve it all in the end. It reminds me when ATP implores “To reach, not the point where one no longer says I, but the point where it is no longer of any importance whether one says I. We are no longer ourselves. Each will know his own. We have been aided, inspired, multiplied.”

      Scheduling:: I have a “hurry up quick” version in the case that I get some post-docs that I’ve applied to, due date July 2012. I have a “your funding is secure” version that I would draw out until June-July 2013.

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