1. bookVolume 37 (2021): Issue 1 (December 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1841-964X
First Published
01 Jan 2012
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

The Future as a Scenario of Hospitality in Ali Smith’s There But For The

Published Online: 30 Dec 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 37 (2021) - Issue 1 (December 2021)
Page range: 29 - 47
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1841-964X
First Published
01 Jan 2012
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate how Ali Smith’s novel There But For The (2011) foregrounds a temporality in which the scenario of hospitality is encoded into the characters’ perception of the future, while the welcoming scenarios in which they engage are themselves marked by the awareness of futurity. To this end, I rework Levinas’s equation of the future as the Other, as well as Derrida’s notions of conditional and unconditional hospitality, of the future as the expected/unexpected event, and of “choratic space.” The subsequent analysis of the novel proves how these notions are thematized both through the characters’ inner and intersubjective discourse, and via the authorial construction of imagery and the deictics of the spaces they inhabit. As such, the characters’ conversations bear the marks of an uncertain causality springing from the welcoming scenario; attitudes towards futurity are faced with the disquieting awareness of the conflict between the expected and the unexpected event; while the choratic space acts as the possibility of an ethical reaction to the strangers’ singularity, through a linguistic reorientation which employs the contingency of the linguistic sign as a site for hospitality.

Keywords

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