Literature as philosophy of psychopathology: William Faulkner as Wittgensteinian

Read, Rupert (2003) Literature as philosophy of psychopathology: William Faulkner as Wittgensteinian. Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, 10 (2). pp. 115-124. ISSN 1086-3303

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I argue that the language of some schizophrenic persons is akin to the language of Benjy in Williams Faulkner's novel The Sound and the Fury, in one crucial respect: Faulkner displays to us language that, ironically, cannot be translated or interpreted into sense . . . without irreducible 'loss' or 'garbling.' Such 'garbling' is of an odd kind, admittedly: it is a garbling that inadvisably turns nonsense into sense.. . . Faulkner's language is a language of paradox, of nonsense masquerading beautifully as sense. When this language works, it generates the powerful illusion that we can make sense of the 'life-world' of a young child or an 'idiot'--or a sufferer from chronic schizophrenia. But this remains, contrary to Louis Sass's claims, an illusion. Thus, drawing of the thinking of Wittgenstein and of the Wittgensteinian literary critic James Guetti, I argue that the most impenetrable cases of schizophrenia may be cases not of a sense being made that we cannot grasp, nor of a different form of life, but, despite appearances, of no sense, no form of life, at all. This is an option that has not really been considered in the literature of/on psychopathology to date.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Philosophy
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Wittgenstein
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2010 13:56
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2023 11:30
DOI: 10.1353/ppp.2003.0099

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