The unsayable discourse. A historical example.
Langage et société n° 93, September 2000, p. 5-31
The analysis bears on how journalists of the French Communist Party paper, L'Humanité, recounted the Leningrad Trial of 1970, where two defendants (Jews) were sentenced to death. It shows how both the plea for leniency sent to the Soviet authorities and the fact that the trial took place in the course of daily life, allowed for a form of compromise. On the other hand, the arguments whereby L'Humanité sought both to remain loyal to the USSR and critical about the trial (but without being able to denounce anti-semitism) proved to be a dead-end. The concept of "unsayable" indicates the blank that invades a discourse when something is unsayable, making it akin to aphasia. Different from the run-of-the-mill "taboo" (unmentionable), the unsayable represents the very fact of speechlessness (in the sense of a discourse powerless to express).
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