On Killed Darlings, Methodology and the Textual Veil

by rooswijnants

killed darling

I realized that I haven’t written anything in over a week, and this realization has been haunting me ever since (that is, ever since the last 5 minutes, but I must say 5 excruciating minutes). So I decided to give you a quick update of where I am at with my research.

I am currently writing my final paper. Me and my supervisor decided to take another, unexpected turn; my research paper, or final essay, whatever you like, will be a methodological one. Since I myself have been cracking my head over the term ‘methodology’ and what it exactly entails, I will spare you this painfull process and try to explain as briefly as possible what this entails. A methodology is a theoretical discussion of my ‘tools’. My ‘tools’ within this research are textuality, the textual veil and the performance of writing. With these ‘tools’, I will formulate a new concept that goes under the name of ‘textual veiling’. My theoretical discussion of my tools then, or my methodology, will be the very formulation of the textual veil by elaborately exploring and deconstructing the ‘tools’ which will result in the formulation of ‘the textual veil’. Consequently, this ‘textual veil’, and the tools that weaved this veiling cloth together, will allow me to consider the notion of ‘the textual subject’; a subjectivity that is inscribed textually, and a textuality that inscribed subjectivity. A cyclical movement, if you like.

But a methodology would not be a methodology if I did not discuss how this textual veil can be ‘used’ for the analysis of (literary) texts. In order to legitimize this textual veil, and to demonstrate its usability, I will briefly discuss three texts in relation to this veil; Assia Djebar’s Fantasia; An Algerian Cavalcade, Hélène Cixous’ contribution to Veils, and Monique Wittig’s The Lesbian Body. The discussion of these texts will foreground how the textual veil enables a textual subjectivity, and how this textual veil is also veiling its own textuality (how I love these twisted word games).

But, one may ask, what about Fanon? What about  his texts, are you not going to deconstruct his texts, my fair lady? The answer is neither yes nor no. Whereas this research started at Fanon, it brought me to questions of textuality, language, subjectivity and the veil. Along the way, I took different paths and roads, which eventually led me to a place where Fanon is but merely a vague dot in the horizon. Obviously, I will discuss him in my final paper, but whereas this research started with vague feelings of anger and resistance towards Fanon, it ended in a feeling of gratitude for him. If it were not for his masculinist implications expressed in his ‘Algeria Unveiled’, the chances of me creating a corpus consisting of Cixous, Derrida and the textual subject would have been nihil.

The deadline of my final paper will be in the near future, and for those of you who hanged on long enough, and are curious about the results/writings born out of this research, feel free to contact me and ask me for my paper. I would feel honoured (and terrified, since sharing something that is originally written in a Word file is somehow really more scary than simply writing something on the mighty World Wide Web).

A little sneak peak of my final paper can be found at the top of this post, depicting a small fragment of my 9 page counting word file entitled ‘killed darlings’, whereas ‘genocide of my darlings’ would be more appropriate since it was a heartbreaking, bloody and violent killing spree.