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Virtual Subjects, Fugitive SelvesFernando Pessoa and his philosophy$
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Jonardon Ganeri

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198864684

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198864684.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

Heteronyms as Virtual Subjects

Heteronyms as Virtual Subjects

(p.9) 2 Heteronyms as Virtual Subjects
Virtual Subjects, Fugitive Selves

Jonardon Ganeri

Oxford University Press

The authorial act of heteronymic self-transformation is quite different from that of inventing a character in a story. What is fundamental to the notion of a heteronym is that it is an othered I, ‘lived by the author within himself’, that is to say, lived first-personally. A heteronym is not a character because the relationship an author stands in to an invented character is a third-personal one. A closer analogy would be with one of those stories in which each section has a different narrator writing from a first-person position, such as Orhan Pamuk’s novel My Name is Red or William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Yet a sequence of distinct narrators writing in the first person is still not a display of heteronymy: they are distinct characters taking it in turn to speak about themselves. When one dreams it is not uncommon for one to oneself figure in the dream, as the one to whom the events in the dream are presenting. The ‘subject-within-the-dream’ is both a virtual subject and a simulation of the dreaming subject; and for this reason it would be entirely appropriate to describe the subject-within-the-dream as the dreaming subject’s heteronym in the dream. The idea of heteronymy is also well-captured in Yasumasa Morimura’s multiple self-portraiture under the assumed identities of famous historical artists.

Keywords:   character, fiction, dreams, subject-within-a-dream, Yasumasa Morimura, Jorge Luis Borges, virtual subjects, heteronyms

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