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 Response Essay
 Monika Fludernik

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 Eva von Contzen

 Posthuman Narration as a Test Bed for Experientiality
 Marco Caracciolo

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 Karin Kukkonen

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Updated Up To 26/06/2018
Volume 8, Number 1 (January 2010) : 119--45
The Ethical Tempo of Narrative Syntax
Sylleptic Recognitions in Our Mutual Friend
Garrett Stewart
Rubric A: The Ethics of Temporality


The paper charts the philosophical fate of a syntactic trope:  from the allusion to Dickens’s early deployment of syllepsis in Pickwick Papers as a “category-mistake” (going home “in a flood of tears and a sedan chair”), leading example in Gilbert Ryle’s attack on Descartes’s mind/body dualism, down through the resistance to an either/or deadlock in the philosophically inflected poetics of such different writers as Allen Grossman and Giorgio Agamben.  Revealing the cognitive equivocations of this mostly (but not exclusively) comic grammar in Dickens, examples from his late work (in comparison to the trope’s narrative deployment from Edgeworth through Eliot to Hardy and James) summon not just a logical tension but a tacit ethics of attention, one open to revisionary impulses operating against the tread of syntactic regimentation.  Among other results, relations of body to mind often take the form of a phrase’s splay between a literal and a figurative sense -- a supposed dichotomy that the jolt of syllepsis calls one to rethink.

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