The Shadows of Knowability

Reading between Opaque Narrative and Transparent Text

in Critical Survey
View More View Less
  • 1 Humboldt University
Restricted access


The torch of ember and its puzzling knowability are my exemplars, serving to open the binary of opacity and transparency in narrativity. I highlight inadequacies in the binary of opacity and transparency by examining the works of Peter Lamarque and Clare Birchall on matters of narrative and secrecy. I will try to see how one can think about opacity/transparency through the lenses of speculative realism and object-oriented philosophy. I do so by drawing examples from memories of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1989) and explaining how the language of remembering becomes the realm of a tension between presence and absentia, between the unsaid within the said. I explore how memory-as-narrative and narrative-as-memory sustain the potentiality that eludes Orwellian newspeak.

Contributor Notes

Younes Saramifar has been a combat zone ethnographer and experienced resistance movements in Lebanon and recently Iraq. His work on material culture of militancy is published in a volume titled Living with the AK-47 by Cambridge Publishing Scholars. He is currently a Einstein Post-doctoral fellow in Humboldt University of Berlin.