The secret (Elephant & Castle, Number 20)
This issue of «Elephant & Castle» does not intend to investigate "the secret" as a simple motif in literature among others, but rather to reach the core of literature itself which, as Derrida maintains (Passions, 1993), is an exemplary secret. It is a secret that challenges all hypotheses "concerning the meaning of a text or the final intentions of an author" and that trascends each act of reading, precisely because it leaves us "breathless", since "the secret excites us". Furthermore, it gives rise to hermeneutical issues and it gives way to endless searches for meaning, always renewing itself, like the figure in the carpet that Henry James conceived as the very distinctive sign – i.e. the paradigm – of a text. Thus, the secret becomes the absolute principle of a writing process and an interpretation that "can never end, because it constitutes the secret itself" (Todorov, The Poetics of prose, 1971). As a structuring principle of the text, the secret is often a narrative ‘engine’, a strategy of concealment, unveiling, and revelation. The writing process veils, reveals, masks, disguises, lays bare such discursive levels as dialectic intimacy, appearance, transparency, opacity, truth, and lie. The enunciative scene disclosed by a secret can lead to confidence or confession and can evoke the images of the veil or the coffer, i.e. something that separates and hides as the etymology of the term suggests: secretum, from the verb secernere, with the meaning of separating, keeping on the sidelines.
The concept of "secret", pervasive but showing uncertain and imprecise boundaries, has so far been discussed as the very essence of literature. Actually, the notion of secrecy opens up different paths of meaning, if put in dialogue with such disciplines as art, philosophy, history, theology, and many others.
Deadline for the submission of proposals: 31 March 2019.
All proposals should include a title, an abstract, (300 words), bibliographic references, a short bio and e-mail address.
Notification of abstract acceptance or rejection can be expected by April 10, 2019.
We welcome papers in Italian, French, English, and German.
Completed articles must be received by June 30, 2019.