As If You Were There

Haun Saussy
2022 The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry  
What is involved in framing a counterfactual? Let's say I have a daydream about living in Shakespeare's time. Who would I be and what would I do? Well, I'd go to the Globe, that much I know for sure, and bring a notebook. Of course, it is impossible for me to have lived in Shakespeare's time, for the "me" that is having this revery is the result of genealogies, circumstances, and relationships that cannot be displaced from the second half of the twentieth century without tearing apart the
more » ... ure of all world history. To have this imagination, I must first assume that there is a "me" that can be transported into times and places whose definition excludes that "me." Perhaps the concept of an essential self or soul derives from the wish to pursue such scenarios beyond the point at which they crash into inescapable contradictions.
doi:10.1017/pli.2021.31 fatcat:htgs4c637zcnlnbfmntvnmktly