“Inner Speech” as a Space of Inter-subjectivity

Abstract

While philosophers generally agree that there can be no direct experience of the foreign consciousness, Simone de Beauvoir argues that literature makes it possible for us to enter the Other’s world. I will investigate the ways in which the position of the other and the position of the self-become one in the literary experience. Using phenomenology of the body as my point of departure, and analyzing the differences and convergences between verbal and literary communication acts, I will argue that the text takes the place of the “inner speech” in the reading act. Consequently, the literary text acquires a kind of ownness, while it also appears as spoken by the other and having a reader-independent existence as a physical or electronic object. Literature does not provide us with the same possibilities of reciprocity, spatial perception and role-reversals as face-to-face encounters do; yet the very absence of the embodied other facilitates the adaption of his or her position and world as “one’s own”.

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