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Title: A question of listening : Nancean resonance and listening in the work of Charlie Chaplin
Author: Giunta, Carolyn Sara
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 4401
Awarding Body: University of Dundee
Current Institution: University of Dundee
Date of Award: 2013
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In this thesis, I use a close reading of the silent films of Charlie Chaplin to examine a question of listening posed by Jean-Luc Nancy, “Is listening something of which philosophy is capable” (Nancy 2007:1)? Drawing on the work of Nancy, Jacques Derrida and Gayatri Spivak, I consider a claim that philosophy has failed to address the topic of listening because a logocentric tradition claims speech as primary. In response to Derrida’s deconstruction of logocentrism, Nancy complicates the problem of listening by distinguishing between l’e´coute and l’entente. L’e´coute is an attending to and answering the demand of the other and l’entente is an understanding directed inward toward a subject. Nancy could deconstruct an undervalued position of l’e´coute, making listening essential to speech. I argue, Nancy rather asks what kind of listening philosophy is capable of. To examine this question, I focus on the peculiarly dialogical figure derived from Chaplin that communicates meaning without using speech. This discussion illustrates how Chaplin, in the role of a silent figure, listens to himself (il s’e´coute) as other. Chaplin’s listening is Nancean resonance, a movement in which a subject refers back to itself as another subject, in constant motion of spatial and temporal non-presence. For Nancy, listening is a self’s relationship to itself, but without immediate self-presence. Moving in resonance, Chaplin makes the subject as other as he refers back to himself as other. I argue that Chaplin, through silent dialogue with himself by way of the other, makes his listening listened to. Chaplin refused to make his character speak because he believed speech would change the way in which his work would be listened to. In this way, Chaplin makes people laugh by making himself understood (se fait entendre) as he makes himself listened to (se fait e´couter). In answer to Nancy’s question, I conclude philosophy is capable of meeting the demand of listening as both l’entente and l’e´coute when it listens as Chaplin listens.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Jean-Luc Nancy ; Charlie Chaplin ; Jacques Derrida ; Gayatri Spivak ; Listening ; Logocentrism ; Resonance