By Denise Lewis Patrick
From the shorelines of Africa to the bowels of a transatlantic send to a balloting sales space in Mississippi to the jungles of Vietnam, all human connection is an issue of souls.
In this stirring number of brief tales, Denise Lewis Patrick considers the souls of black women and men throughout centuries and continents. In every one, she takes the degree in their dignity, describes their desires, and catalogs their fears.
Brutality, attractiveness, laughter, rage, and love all take their turns in each one tale, however the ultimate impact is of indomitable, luminous, and attached souls.
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Extra info for A Matter of Souls
The so incorporated object all but overwhelms the ego from within: the shadow of the object fell upon the ego […]. In this way an object-loss was transformed into an ego-loss and the conflict between the ego and the loved person into a cleavage between the critical activity of the ego and the ego as altered by identification (Freud 1957: 249). Mourning, Melancholia and Morality 41 This melancholic ‘union’ with the lost object is necessary for the stabilisation of (unconscious) remembering. But it is also this unconscious identification that constitutes the “state of death in the life of the spirit” since the subject remains riveted to, united and, in a way, melded with the dead object.
This again seems to put Sebald closer to a practice of mourning – of recalling and articulating and thus (potentially) of working through – than of melancholia. However, the answer to the question of Sebald’s relation to mourning and melancholia, or more precisely to the different forms and practices of literature they entail, lies, I suggest, in his manner of writing. The way in which Sebald writes – namely in a highly intertextual manner, forging his texts out of fragments and quotes from other texts and using a technique of montage that he himself, following Claude Lévi-Strauss, called bricolage – is one that lets reminiscences appear increasingly like an archive, for instance of quotes, and this means: like the symbolic form of memory.
Ceuppens 2006, Garloff 2006): Sebald’s narrator is at the same time a literary figure and a narrative means. As the former, he does indeed act like a therapist allowing for and encouraging the reconstruction of the protagonist-subjects’ stories. In this, he has a certain interpretative power over history, although he cannot control the reconstructive processes. As a narrative means, however, he creates distance since his presence emphasises a mediating agency or level in the reconstruction of the past.
A Matter of Souls by Denise Lewis Patrick