This essay reflects on how perceptions of time may be altered after the sudden death of a child, and why inhabiting this sharply new temporality stops one’s habitual modes of telling. Neither tearful memoir nor testament of hope, the essay charts a vivid experience of such a suspended time and discovers an unsuspected intimacy between time and language. Although a life inside this ‘arrested’ time resists being described, it is neither exceptional or pathological; to outlive one’s child is historically common enough. But, because of this felt suspension of the usual flow of time which enables narration, it leaves few literary traces.
Published by Capsule Editions as an 80-page pocket book, this is the first in a series of stand-alone literary essays by leading contemporary thinkers and writers.
About the author:
Denise Riley is a poet and philosopher. Her non-fiction includes ‘Am I That Name?’: Feminism and the Category of ‘Women’ in History (Macmillan, 1988), The Words of Selves: Identification, Solidarity, Irony (Stanford University Press, 2000), Impersonal Passion: Language as Affect (Duke University Press, 2005) and, with Jean-Jacques Lecercle, The Force of Language (Palgrave, 2004). Her poetry has been widely published; a Selected Poems was issued by Reality Street in 2000.