Supervisors: Mireille Rosello; and Marie Aude Lous Baronian. Agnietenkapel, 28 juni 2019, 12.00 hrs
|Date||28 June 2019|
The essay is a ubiquitous genre with a long and varied history. It is also notoriously difficult to categorise: literary taxonomists often define the essay as indefinable, and many theoretical studies similarly emphasise its remarkable formal openness. In this dissertation, I argue that the essay can be more helpfully understood as a writerly practice that continuously revises the impressions and judgements of human experience, and that precisely because it complicates notions of genre, combines art and science, and mixes stylistic and rhetorical techniques, becomes the most precise form for situations in which one cannot really work precisely.
The formula leads to my project’s main hypothesis: the essay has a remarkable ability to create its own principles and conditions of measure. By bringing together various literary and audiovisual essayists, including writer Roland Barthes and filmmaker Hito Steyerl, I have investigated how ‘weighing in the absence of clear measure’ can be negotiated with and through the essay form.