The state-sponsored amnesia that followed the Lebanese civil war has had its impact on the articulation of collective and individual memory in the Lebanese society. To counter this debilitating reality, many artists, filmmakers, architects, and writers tried to establish an experimental zone where they could re-configure the public’s perception of the past spatially and discursively. Lama Joreige observes that attempts to recollect past memories revealed facts and experiences that “will never reach us and will remain unspoken, buried. We will never be able to witness their existence, but only presume that they are there, yet missing” (Lamia Joreige 18). Accordingly, addressing stories from the Lebanese war is also addressing the ghost of such a repressed and invisible past which contemporary artists and novelists have tried to depict through “latent images”, “the invisible,” “the erased and covered,” the “lived without being experienced,” “the repressed, the hidden,” and the “missing characters”.
While such a “present absence” may well manifest itself in art through the visible gap that separates the art installation from its narrative, things seem more problematic in novels where the narrative is itself the installation. My project seeks to introduce literary models of impossible mourning through the works of Lebanese novelist Rabee Jaber. Mourning here does not assume the death but the loss of the other with the necessity of remembering him/her. The project argues that such a model is possible in a literary text when the models of remembrance that the text generates fail in providing a satisfactory Applicate. Here I refer and contribute to Matthias Erdbeer’s developing “model theory for literary texts”.