Formal Matters re-examines the postmodernist insistence that the body escapes signification by turning to an unexpected source: early and mid-century formalisms. Bringing together formalism's endeavour to give shape to the ineffable with postmodernism's discursive body, the book argues that embodiment--or the experience of the lived, corporeal body--is not what resists representation but what constitutes form.
Working at the intersection of formalist criticism, phenomenology, and body studies, Zoë Roth reassesses the relationship between embodiment and form in a range of modern European authors, including Primo Levi, Maurice Blanchot, Samuel Beckett, and Anne F. Garréta. Through close textual analysis, Formal Matters provides a new method for grasping embodied experience where it appears most attenuated and fragmented. It provides an original account of the body's relationship to language and representation, while also reinvigorating formalist methods with political potential.
About the Author:
Dr. Zoë Roth is Associate Professor of French at Durham University. Her research focuses largely on two things: bodies and Jews. She has been awarded grants and fellowships by the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, the Harry Ransom Center at University of Texas at Austin, and the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies. She has published articles in such journals as L'Esprit Créateur, the Journal of Modern Literature and Word & Image.