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Tactile PoeticsTouch and Contemporary Writing$
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Sarah Jackson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748685318

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748685318.001.0001

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Hand Delivered

Hand Delivered

From A to X

(p.98) Chapter 6 Hand Delivered
Tactile Poetics

Sarah Jackson

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter turns from non-localised touch to specific body parts, unsettling the relationship between the mode of address and the theme of touch. Through a series of letters to the reader, it examines the primacy of the hand in John Berger's epistolary novel, From A to X. Renegotiating the relationship between the visual and the tactile, it considers the repeating motif of blindness in From A to X alongside Jacques Derrida's accounts of the hand in The Post Card and Memoirs of the Blind. Considering the hand's persistence in everyday expression, the chapter also explores the relevance of Martin Heidegger's concept of Handwerk to Berger's novel, offering a close analysis of scenes of carpentry and surgery. Moving on to consider thinking and poetry as forms of handiwork, it reads the hand as referring to the features of one's ‘style’, and pursues Derrida's destabilisation of the relationship between the hand and writing.

Keywords:   blindness, correspondence, hand, handiwork, letter, surgery, John Berger, Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger

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