Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Texting Doppelgangers: Repetition, Signs, and Intentionalities in (Auto)biographical Alzheimer Writing

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2009), 3, (1), 67–84.

Abstract

The paper offers a critical discussion of notions of self as they emerge in texts written by Alzheimer patients and their caregivers. It explores how diary-writing becomes a means of agency by which some ontological sense of 'self' gets scripted in the process of memory's slipping away. Specifically, the paper explores how two themes—namely, sure signs and repetition, and intentionality and experience—can be seen to crucially inform the patients' need to text their fading hold on language and memories into place. This need to 'fix' selves and experiences contests particular strains of poststructuralist ideas that insist that bodies are performed, fluid and changeable. Although infusing ideas about dynamism into our discourses of bodies is crucial, being aware of contexts where such discourses may not be as feasible is important as well, if only to increase our awareness of the universalizing tendencies of particular discourses. The diaries of Alzheimer patients and those who care for them give us entry into contexts in which the stabilizing (through writing) of a sense of self may be a critical way of surviving and coping.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Barthes, Roland. A Lover's Discourse. New York: Hill and Wang, 1978. A Lover's Discourse Google Scholar

Bataille, Georges. Inner Experience. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1983. Inner Experience Google Scholar

Bayley, John. Elegy for Iris. London: Abacus, 1999. Elegy for Iris Google Scholar

Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in 2 Acts. New York: Grove Press, 1970. Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in 2 Acts Google Scholar

Benhabib, Seyla. The Rights of Others: Aliens, Residents, Citizens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. The Rights of Others: Aliens, Residents, Citizens Google Scholar

Blanchot, Maurice. The Unavowable Community. New York: Station Hill Press, 1988. The Unavowable Community Google Scholar

Boden, Christine. Who Will I Be When I Die? Sydney: HarperCollins, 1998. Who Will I Be When I Die? Google Scholar

Bolt, David. "A Brief Introduction to Post-Disability Literary Criticism." Paper presented at Keele University, 21 September, 2004. Disability Archive UK. 30 January, 2008 > http://www.leeds.ac.uk/disability-studies/archiveuk/bolt/Keele%20Presentation%20Archive.pdf Google Scholar

Bolt, David. Introduction. Disability and/as Poetry. Ed. Jim Ferris and David Bolt. Spec. Issue of Journal of Literary Disability 1.1 (2007): i–vi. Google Scholar

Burke, Kenneth. Grammar of Motives. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1967. Grammar of Motives Google Scholar

Burke, Lucy. "The Poetry of Dementia: Art, Ethics, and Alzheimer's Disease in Tony Harrison's Black Daisies for the Bride." Disability and/as Poetry. Ed. Jim Ferris and David Bolt. Spec. Issue of Journal of Literary Disability 1.1 (2007): 61–73. The Poetry of Dementia: Art, Ethics, and Alzheimer's Disease in Tony Harrison's Black Daisies for the Bride. Disability and/as Poetry. Journal of Literary Disability 1 61 73 Google Scholar

Butler, Judith. Giving an Account of Oneself. New York: Fordham University Press, 2005. Giving an Account of Oneself Google Scholar

Culler, Jonathan, ed. Linguistics and Grammatology. London: Routledge, 2003. Google Scholar

Davis, Lennard J. Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body. London: Routledge, 1995. Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body Google Scholar

Deleuze, Gilles. Difference and Repetition. London: Continuum, 2004. Difference and Repetition Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques. Points… Interviews, 1974–1994. Ed. Elisabeth Weber. Trans. Peggy Kamuf and others. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992. Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques. Positions. London: Athlone Press, 1981. Positions Google Scholar

Frank, Arthur. The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine and How to Live. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2004. The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine and How to Live Google Scholar

Gee, James. Social Linguistics and Literacies: Ideologies in Discourses. Bristol, PA: Falmer Press, 1990. Social Linguistics and Literacies: Ideologies in Discourses Google Scholar

Guattari, Felix. Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm. Trans. Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1995. Google Scholar

Gusdorf, Georges. "Conditions and Limits of Autobiography." Autobiography, Essays Theoretical and Critical. Ed. James Olney. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980. 35–70. Google Scholar

Honel, Rosalie. Journey with Grandpa: Our Family's Struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988. Journey with Grandpa: Our Family's Struggle with Alzheimer's Disease Google Scholar

Kramsch, Claire. "Social Discursive Constructions of Self in L2 Learning." Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning. Ed. James P. Lantolf. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. 133–154. Google Scholar

Leibing, Annette. "Divided Gazes: Alzheimer's Disease, the Person Within, and Death in Life." Thinking about Dementia: Culture, Loss and the Anthropology of Senility. Ed. Annette Leibing and Lawrence Cohen. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2006. 240–268. Google Scholar

Lejeune, Philippe. Le Pacte autobiographique. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1975. Le Pacte autobiographique Google Scholar

McGowin, Diana. Living in the Labyrinth: A Personal Journey through the Maze of Alzheimer's. San Francisco, CA: Elder Books, 1993. Living in the Labyrinth: A Personal Journey through the Maze of Alzheimer's Google Scholar

Mitchell, W. J. T. "Christo's Gates, and Gilo's Wall." Critical Inquiry 32, no. 4 (2006): 587–601. Christo's Gates, and Gilo's Wall Critical Inquiry 32 587 601 Google Scholar

Moita-Lopes, Luis Paulo. "Queering Literacy Teaching: Analyzing Gay-Themed Discourses in a Fifth-Grade Class in Brazil." Journal of Language, Identity, and Education 5, no. 1 (2006): 31–50. Queering Literacy Teaching: Analyzing Gay-Themed Discourses in a Fifth-Grade Class in Brazil Journal of Language, Identity, and Education 5 31 50 Google Scholar

Naas, Michael. Taking on the Tradition: Jacques Derrida and the Legacies of Deconstruction. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003. Taking on the Tradition: Jacques Derrida and the Legacies of Deconstruction Google Scholar

Nancy, Jean-Luc. The Inoperative Community. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1991. The Inoperative Community Google Scholar

Norton, Bonny. Identity and Language Learning: Gender, Ethnicity, and Educational Settings. New York: Longman, 2000. Google Scholar

Olney, James. Autobiography, Essays Theoretical and Critical. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980. Autobiography, Essays Theoretical and Critical Google Scholar

Pavlenko, Aneta. "Autobiographic Narratives as Data in Applied Linguistics." Applied Linguistics 28 (2007): 163–188. Autobiographic Narratives as Data in Applied Linguistics Applied Linguistics 28 163 188 Google Scholar

Radhakrishnan, Rajagopalan. Theory in an Uneven World. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003. Theory in an Uneven World Google Scholar

Ramanathan, Vaidehi. Alzheimer's Discourse: Some Sociolinguistic Dimensions. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1997. Alzheimer's Discourse: Some Sociolinguistic Dimensions Google Scholar

Ramanathan, Vaidehi. "Applied Linguistics Redux: A Derridean Analysis of Alzheimer Lifestories." Applied Linguistics 29 (2008): 1–23. Applied Linguistics Redux: A Derridean Analysis of Alzheimer Lifestories Applied Linguistics 29 1 23 Google Scholar

Ramanathan, Vaidehi, and Sinfree Makoni. "Bringing the Body Back in Body Narratives: The (Mis)Languaging of Bodies in Bio-medical, Societal and Poststructuralist Discourses on Diabetes and Epilepsy." Critical Inquiry in Language Studies 4.4 (2008): 283–306. Bringing the Body Back in Body Narratives: The (Mis)Languaging of Bodies in Bio-medical, Societal and Poststructuralist Discourses on Diabetes and Epilepsy Critical Inquiry in Language Studies 4 283 306 Google Scholar

Smith, Robert. Derrida and Autobiography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Derrida and Autobiography Google Scholar

Tanner, Laura. Lost Bodies: Inhabiting the Borders of Life and Death. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006. Lost Bodies: Inhabiting the Borders of Life and Death Google Scholar

Zabbia, K. Painted Diaries: A Mother and Daughter's Experience through Alzheimer's. Minneapolis, MN: Fairview Press, 1996. Painted Diaries: A Mother and Daughter's Experience through Alzheimer's Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Ramanathan, Vaidehi