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Commentary INTERIOR MONOLOGUE IN MELPO AXIOTI Book reviewing is a critical metalanguage with its own conventions, restrictions, and problems—a practice of interpretative rereading that should provide a serious account of the work under consideration and allow the reviewer to develop his or her own ideas or position. Since this is not die case with Irene Kacandes's review of my Interior Monologue and its Dücursive Formation in Melpo Axioti'sΔϕσκολες νϕχτες (JMGS 12:296-297), I am taking this opportunity to clarify certain points. First, Kacandes would find no reason to lament Axioti's supposed exclusion from the international literary scene if she had read my book less superficially and therefore had noticed that parts of the book, published in 1992, appeared in the United States as early as 1985. The texts I published in my translation and accompanied with narrative analysis received international attention by virtue of favorable reviews appearing, for example, in Poetics Today (1986) and Semiótica (1988). Secondly, Kacandes failed to grasp that my close reading οι Difficult Nights was not conducted for its own sake. My central point is that the interior monologue in Axioti's book is connected with the representation of self within a changing epistemology of the "subject" (see chapters 4, 5, and 6). The uses and abuses of inner speech form the protagonist's subjectivity according to a language-oriented notion of self, a subjectivity that involves as a constitutive part the discourse of others. In addition, this fragmentation of self is related by Axioti to the issues of Greekness and historical/cultural continuity (see chapter 3). Chapter 1 discusses the controversial representational status of interior monologue, maintaining that it should be considered a strictly verbal construct regardless of stylistic variability or psychological depth—an inner speech and not a style or stream representing any subverbal, subconscious stratum. Kacandes would be less confused by the issues treated if she had observed that Chapter 1 favors those philosophical or narratological studies that place interior monologue , and especially the relation between thought and language, within the framework of a language-oriented view of inner reality. Thus my book relies on approaches that define interior monologue in a formal rather than a conceptual or stylistic manner. This is a necessary precondition for a discussion of interior monologue's reception in Greece both as a critical term and a literary practice (see Chapter 2). Concerning my treatment of Cohn's Transparent Minds, Kacandes fails to distinguish between total rejection and critical discussion. Cohn's typology of interior monologue was very helpful for my analysis of Axioti's text; nevertheless, Journal of Modem Greek Studies, Volume 13, 1995. 163 164 Commentary in discussing this model I point out some of its limitations—particularly its failure to define precisely certain controversial terms, for example "narrative" as opposed to "discourse." If, as Kacandes claims, reading Axioti's text against theories of inner speech does not allow one to make connections and comparisons widi die famous autonomous monologue in die "Penelope" episode of Joyce's Ulysses, or with Faulkner's memory monologues, or Woolf s associative language, then what does? If Axioti's notion of repetition as an important organizing principle does not provide a link to Woolf s poetic notion of time, then what does? Witiiin Greek literary modernism, Axioti is a unique case (along with Skarimbas, perhaps) since she foregrounded polyphony, cultural plurality, and linguistic plurality in die 1930s, a decade in which monophonie modernist production favored linguistic uniformity. As to whether narrative theory will ever help Axioti to reach the center of the international literary map, this will depend on the (stable?) geography of the center, the (fixed?) literary canon, and the fortunes of narratology. Maria Kakavoulia Pantion University of Social and Political Sciences TL· author responds: I would like to thank Maria Kakavoulia for replying to my review of her book. I agree with her that "book reviewing is a critical metalanguage with its own conventions . . . that should provide a serious account of the work under consideration," and would like to point out that what I did in my review was precisely to "provide a serious account." Nothing in book reviewing protocol, however, says that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 163-164
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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