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Little did they know: place, time and character in historical representations

Sarah Pardon (UGent)
(2015)
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(UGent)
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Abstract
My starting point is that all historical representations, regardless of their referential claims, share the ability to provide the reader with a sense of comfort in the existence of dramatic irony. When all has passed and every possible turn of event has taken place, we can find solace in our knowledge that from our retrospective positions we can, at least gradually, start to reconstruct what has happened. I analyse the imaginative appeal of historical representations against the backdrop of the JFK assassination, a blind spot in history that continues to test the limits of our knowledge and our linguistic abilities to capture that knowledge of what actually happened on November 22, 1963. The main instruments for understanding the imaginative appeal of the JFK assassination are language and experience. In order to study the interaction between experience and language I bring together two views on aesthetic experience that, when put together, take into account both the beginning and the end of the mediation process of reading historical representations, F. Ankersmit's notion of historical experience and W. Iser's take on the actualization process of images during the reading process. In order to make the application of my methodological framework concrete, I will focus in the course of this study on three aspects of the historical representation: places & facts, narration & time and the historical figure. In the face of linguistic and factual uncertainties, the act of reading helps to achieve a sense of comfort by means of offering some compensation for a lost past. Through the act of reading readers can start to actualize an absent past.
Keywords
JFK assassination, historical representations, mediation of the past, historical experience, imagination, Dramatic irony, the distinction between history and fiction, theory of history, reader-oriented theory, Wolfgang Iser, Frank Ankersmit

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Pardon, Sarah. “Little Did They Know: Place, Time and Character in Historical Representations.” 2015 : n. pag. Print.
APA
Pardon, S. (2015). Little did they know: place, time and character in historical representations. Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent, Belgium.
Chicago author-date
Pardon, Sarah. 2015. “Little Did They Know: Place, Time and Character in Historical Representations”. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Pardon, Sarah. 2015. “Little Did They Know: Place, Time and Character in Historical Representations”. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy.
Vancouver
1.
Pardon S. Little did they know: place, time and character in historical representations. [Ghent, Belgium]: Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy; 2015.
IEEE
[1]
S. Pardon, “Little did they know: place, time and character in historical representations,” Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent, Belgium, 2015.
@phdthesis{6908198,
  abstract     = {My starting point is that all historical representations, regardless of their referential claims, share the ability to provide the reader with a sense of comfort in the existence of dramatic irony. When all has passed and every possible turn of event has taken place, we can find solace in our knowledge that from our retrospective positions we can, at least gradually, start to reconstruct what has happened. I analyse the imaginative appeal of historical representations against the backdrop of the JFK assassination, a blind spot in history that continues to test the limits of our knowledge and our linguistic abilities to capture that knowledge of what actually happened on November 22, 1963. The main instruments for understanding the imaginative appeal of the JFK assassination are language and experience. In order to study the interaction between experience and language I bring together two views on aesthetic experience that, when put together, take into account both the beginning and the end of the mediation process of reading historical representations, F. Ankersmit's notion of historical experience and W. Iser's take on the actualization process of images during the reading process. In order to make the application of my methodological framework concrete, I will focus in the course of this study on three aspects of the historical representation: places & facts, narration & time and the historical figure. In the face of linguistic and factual uncertainties, the act of reading helps to achieve a sense of comfort by means of offering some compensation for a lost past. Through the act of reading readers can start to actualize an absent past.},
  author       = {Pardon, Sarah},
  keywords     = {JFK assassination,historical representations,mediation of the past,historical experience,imagination,Dramatic irony,the distinction between history and fiction,theory of history,reader-oriented theory,Wolfgang Iser,Frank Ankersmit},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {X, 161},
  publisher    = {Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy},
  school       = {Ghent University},
  title        = {Little did they know: place, time and character in historical representations},
  year         = {2015},
}