Jenck's "Enigmatic Signifier" and Cathartic Narrative

Emmanuel Rubio
2012 CLCWeb  
Volume 14 (2012) Issue 3 Article 11 J Je enck nck' ' s " s "E Eni nig gm ma at tic S ic Si ig gni nifie fier r" a " and C nd Ca ath tha ar rt tic N ic Na ar rr ra at ti ive ve E Emm mma an nuel Rubio uel Rubio University Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense Follow this and additional works at: Part of the Comparative Literature Commons, and the Critical and Cultural Studies Commons Dedicated to the dissemination of scholarly and professional information, Purdue
more » ... rmation, Purdue University Press selects, develops, and distributes quality resources in several key subject areas for which its parent university is famous, including business, technology, health, veterinary medicine, and other selected disciplines in the humanities and sciences. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, the peer-reviewed, full-text, and open-access learned journal in the humanities and social sciences, publishes new scholarship following tenets of the discipline of comparative literature and the field of cultural studies designated as "comparative cultural studies. Abstract: In his article "Jenck's 'Enigmatic Signifier' and Cathartic Narrative" Emmanuel Rubio takes Charles Jencks's definition of the "enigmatic signifier" as a point of departure. For Jencks, the postmodern "iconic building" should present a "redundancy of popular signs and metaphors" that allows for multiple interpretations. But these numerous metaphorical references could also be inserted in a less simultaneous network to construct a narrative sequence. As one of these sequences, the "cathartic narrative," which is particularly adapted to the troubled era of post-modernity, is defined as a narrative that brings back, in a symbolic way, memories and experiences of past suffering, before it gets through the ordeals of the community and gives actual relief. The Selfridges department store in Birmingham analyzed by Jencks offers a good example of this process. By reading the story of Birmingham's difficult modernization through its architecture, the "cathartic narrative" is able to propose another pattern for modern and postmodern monumentality. Emmanuel Rubio, "Jenck's 'Enigmatic Signifier' and Cathartic Narrative"
doi:10.7771/1481-4374.2045 fatcat:eykykpotr5ex3g4jjlqicgsew4