Voice, History, and Vertigo: Doing justice to dead voices through imaginative conversation

Rapport, Nigel (2010) Voice, History, and Vertigo: Doing justice to dead voices through imaginative conversation. [Audio] (Unpublished)

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Recording of presentation given at Vital Signs 2 Conference, 7-9 September 2010, University of Manchester

The world ages and in doing so the lost histories multiply. While one cannot presume to share the past of another, according to the German-British writer W.G.Sebald -- it is, indeed, morally compromising to appropriate, for instance, the tragic memory of past suffering-- still, voices seem to call out to the present even from the inamimate detritus of past lives. To consider the historical void of extinguished life is thus to risk 'vertigo' (as Sebald titled one of his works).

Voice, history and vertigo comprise my theme. If the stuff of history is the countless actual doings of countless individuals, and if an account is true or false in proportion to its representing or misrepresenting the individual doings -- 'an ideal written histoy would tell the whole story of everything that ever happened to every human being' (A. M. MacIver)-- how is human science to do justice to individual lives that lapse constantly into historical oblivion?

My hope is to take advantage of the paradoxical nature of voice and also to exploit an idea aptly expressed by G.K. Chesterton that 'imagination has its highest use in a retrospective realization. The trumpet of imagination (...) calls the dead out of their graves.' One does justice to dead voices by imagining them into conversation.

Item Type: Audio
Uncontrolled Keywords: Realities, Imagination
Subjects: 4. Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis > 4.23 Qualitative Approaches (other)
Depositing User: Realities user
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2010 14:01
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2021 13:53
URI: https://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/id/eprint/1650

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