The essay starts out from a close-reading analysis of Lewis Carroll‘s Victorian fairytale fantasies about Alice,s adventures in Wonderland with the aim to explore the complex poetical and political potentials of nonsense as a literary genre and a mode of artistic expression questioning the reliability of representational strategies across a variety of media. Nonsense is decoded as a meaningful yet gradually defamiliarized act of symbolization that makes the implied reader lose confidence in conventional interpretive apparati and urges inventive linguistic creativity and ludic co-authorship. As Lecercle points out, nonsense elicits a self-reflective awareness concerning the ambiguity of common sense and the (mal)functioning of our sense-making methods through revealing the inherent poetic-metaphorical, associative-imaginative surplus, as well as the authoritative ideological charge and socio-historical residue of “ordinary” representation. In a Kristevian sense, the transverbal corporeal facet of the nonsense animates the physicality of the represented-representing bodies and revivifies the materiality of signifying activity‘s lived experience, as incarnated rhythms and sounds stress the sensorial stimulation of the human voice. To understand how “we imagine the unimaginable” I interface ordinary nonsense, logical nonsense (Dunn, McDonald) and ethical nonsense as complementary categories.
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