James Berger’s second book has been published in New York University Press’s Cultural Front series, which, rather than having a thematic focus, develops “new ways of thinking about—and promoting—open and egalitarian societies.” As such, his title represents something of a misnomer. “The Disarticulate,” as Berger explains in the book’s helpful introduction, was originally “The Dys-/Disarticulate,” before an editorial decision to erase the slash so as to avoid confusion. The erasure and subsequent reintroduction of this slash, this confusion, this stutter acts as a fitting reenactment of the ethical challenges presented by this book, which concerns itself with the relationship between the symbolically apprehensible and the not-linguistic, the speaking and the non-speaking. For Berger, the figure of the dys-/disarticulate resides, or at least is imagined to reside, at the boundary of the social-symbolic, a liminal place where there is no adequate terminology. As disarticulate, this figure is “forcibly severed from...
The Disarticulate: Language, Disability, and the Narratives of Modernity, by James Berger
Ajitpaul Mangat is a doctoral candidate in the English department at SUNY Buffalo. His research interests include British and American modernism, disability studies, and the mind-sciences, and his dissertation considers how the modernist novel reshapes understandings of the sensory and social experience of neuropsychiatric disability.
Ajitpaul Mangat; The Disarticulate: Language, Disability, and the Narratives of Modernity, by James Berger. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 June 2016; 62 (2): 231–239. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-3616612
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