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Metaphors of travel and writing: deconstruction of the "at-home" and the promise of the other

By Elina Theodorou Staikou


The purpose of the thesis is to consider travel relations with regard to their onto-phenomenological and semantic of possibility and to raise the question of a possible ethics of travel. In turning the notion of travel back upon its signifying conditions, a connection is established with the notion of metaphor. The metaphysical polarity between proper and metaphorical meaning is furthered onto a problematic of the couple Oikos (house, home in Greek and generally everything that constitutes a sense of the-at-home) and travel with the purpose of complicating their mutual determination and to deconstructively challenge the derivational and recuperative logic that permeates their intra-metaphysical designation. The reconsideration of the conceptual presuppositions of “travel” is carried out through the critique of what is called its hermeneutic premise, formulated here largely drawing on Paul Ricoeur. It is maintained that “travel” in its Western European conceputalisation participates in the traditions of the metaphysics if presence and logocentrism and it is on this level that deconstructive thinking takes effect. Questions related to the theme of travel, such as space, time, boundary, itinerary, event, encounter, as well as to travel writing, such as generic delimination, representation, constative reference and performative engagement, testimonial value, and the antinomy of fact and fiction, are addressed and relocated through the preoccupation with their phenomenological and tropological motifs and in particular with their generalised metaphorical and allegorical conditions, as these are designated by Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man, respectively. The association of the notion of travel with metaphor, and, by extension, that between Oikos and properness, will show that senses of home and away, rather than being pregiven, emerge from a scriptural condition - a structural of difference and deferral- that interrupts their reductive, totalising, monistic formulations as well as dialectical conceptualisations

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