Re-inscribing De Quincey's palimpsest : the significance of the palimpsest in contemporary literary and cultural studies
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In 1845, Thomas De Quincey inaugurated the substantive concept of 'the palimpsest'. Since then, this concept has frequently occurred in creative, critical and theoretical texts across the fields of literature, philosophy and cultural studies. This article brings together some of those diverse texts in order to draw attention to how the palimpsest is reinscribed in and by a range of contemporary critical discourses, including deconstruction, psychoanalysis, postcolonial theory, feminism and queer theory. Moreover, the palimpsest is crucial to these discourses' rethinking of such key contemporary issues as the subject, time, history, culture, gender and sexuality, and the processes of reading and writing themselves. The movement of elucidation here is reciprocal and simultaneous: the palimpsest reifies and aids the understanding of current ideas and concepts; at the same time, those ideas enable a reinscription of the palimpsest that sophisticates our understanding of its complex structure and logic.
Dillon , S J 2005 , ' Re-inscribing De Quincey's palimpsest : the significance of the palimpsest in contemporary literary and cultural studies ' Textual Practice , vol 19 , no. 3 , pp. 243-263 . DOI: 10.1080/09502360500196227
"This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published as ‘Re-inscribing De Quincey’s Palimpsest: The Significance of the Palimpsest in Contemporary Literary and Cultural Studies’, Textual Practice 19:3 (2005), 243-263 [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09502360500196227
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