JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 315
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Argentina told such liberal stories" (73). To the extent that the work of the
law is able to harvest the interpretative tradition of liberal stories, it can,
according to this scheme, be judged as nourishing the shared norms and
conventions for maintaining competence and establishing discursive
But this implied notion of the "good," which depends on weaving
retellings into "a larger story" that unfolds a normative teleos, always
risks excluding the saying of what cannot be said. Seeking to overcome
this inevitable ethical risk (limit) Osiel simply proposes that, "individuals
who seek to inject their personal stories into the public realm-stories at
odds with currently prevailing official narratives-are free to invoke the
law to that end, that is, in a liberal society" (263). This faith in liberal
representation blatantly ignores those who do not share in the legal
harvest, those who are actually maimed or struck down by the reaping-
hook of this narrative form: those who provide no "evidence" in a court
of law, those who cannot "inject their personal stories" into a descriptive
legal economy. Something as imponderable as the mass "disappear-
ances" that were conducted by the military in Argentina cannot simply be
translated and reconciled through the legal term "murder," or even death.
As one ofthe mothers ofthe disappeared made obvious, "Our children are
not dead. They are disappeared."2 Something that surpasses a common
vocabulary, something nonencompassable obligates us to think other-
wise than any simple reconciliation or retelling within the law.
It is, however, possible and necessary to encounter the ethical and so
confront the above problematic by concerning ourselves with what
remains otherwise to this form of representation, for the fragments and
traces that unwork the congruence of a narrative that fosters discursive
solidarity and liberal norms can always be "read" by paying attention to
the "idiom that is not given its day in court" (Lyotard, Differend 13). This
would involve a "reading of the limits," a reading that alerts us to what
is lost or to what remains in the margin of any writing of the event that
evokes the metonymies of a normative tradition (Cornell 81-82). How-
ever, in order to be more precise about what this reading implies for
writing, for the work of historiography, I need to ask, what does this
reading of the limits transmit? If this reading seeks to point out that which
exceeds a common vocabulary, that which cannot be accommodated by
our normative terms, what is actually being transmitted here? If a reading
of the limits is not concerned-primarily-with recovering or represent-
ing the event, if it seeks to work rather as a memory, as a residual process
that comes after the (law's) writing of the event, it appears that this
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Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition (U.S.). JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004, periodical, 2004; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28644/m1/61/: accessed February 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .