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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kathryn Robson
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This article explores the limits and possibilities of reading empathy and compassion as portrayed in two French novels, No et moi (2007) and Les Heures souterraines (2011), by the prize-winning author, Delphine de Vigan. I analyse how contemporary theory deploys figures of space and location to contrast empathy (defined as other-oriented) with compassion (defined as self-oriented), yet the distance between these collapses when the former is shown to be near-impossible. Rather than equate empathy with shared affect/position (imagining oneself in the other’s place) I relocate it within displaced, disrupted relations mirrored within the reading encounter itself.
Author(s): Robson K
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Modern Language Review
Print publication date: 01/07/2015
Online publication date: 31/07/2015
Acceptance date: 15/08/2014
ISSN (print): 0026-7937
ISSN (electronic): 2222-4319
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