Edited by Matti Hyvärinen, Lars-Christer Hydén, Marja Saarenheimo and Maria Tamboukou
[Studies in Narrative 11] 2010
► pp. 87–102
Following Paul Ricoeur’s formulation of narrative identity as the dialectic of sameness (idem-) and change (ipse-)identity, this chapter explores the trope of incompleteness in extracts from two artists’ life stories to suggest that the synthesizing totality of the life history is continually interrupted, or broken, by accounts of new creative directions and the search for symbolic expression which mark the ipse-identity of the artist’s selfhood. A coherent identity does not just refer to the singularity of that self but must also contend with the ascription of ‘artist’, the historical and cultural contingency of which is made manifest in the testimony of the life stories. Rather than seeing narrative emplotment leading towards a culmination or conclusion [“I became an artist”], narrative constitutes the means whereby the ‘discordant concordance’ of the temporal aporia of becoming and being an artist is enabled via the reflective ipseity that marks narrative identity’s fractures and disruptions.
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