In Search of “the Aleph of the Other”: Photographic Archive and Narrative Structuring in the Biographic Prose of Édouard Levé

  • Julie Gaillard ICI Berlin


This paper analyses how, through a transposition of photographic methods to literary composition, Edouard Levé (1965-2007) reconfigures the literary genre of the portrait, and situates his work at an unstable threshold from which he explores the border between the visible and the invisible, the knowable and the unknowable, existence and essence. The photographic archive that lends its shape to the text implies an externalization of the definition of identity, which thwarts any ontological discourse that would explain subjective essence as the source of identity and reality. Identity becomes a panoptic collection of the self, which points to the invisible mystery of identity and meaning beneath the surface of the visible.


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