Cover stories and the Counterfactual: Berlant’s parenthetical voice

Blackman, Lisa. 2023. Cover stories and the Counterfactual: Berlant’s parenthetical voice. Media Theory, 7(2), pp. 245-266. ISSN 2557-826X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This essay pays tribute to Laurent Berlant, to their work, to their writing and to their commitment to “stranger and distance-based intimacies” . It explores the cover story as a writing device, a form of writing that Berlant plays with, that mines and exploits the counterfactual as critical and creative method. The impetus for this essay is an interview that Lauren and I were discussing that was to explore some of the commonalities and differences between their work and an article by Valerie Walkerdine (1981) called “Video Replay”. We were going to explore issues of autobiography and the non-personal, memory-work, the relationship between practices of censorious silencing and cover stories, and class differences, with an explicit focus on writing styles and method. We never quite got to the interview as our conversation digressed. These digressions have shaped the issues that I explore in this essay, which takes a more speculative approach to imagining how this might have taken a different form.

Item Type:



Berlant, Affect, Cover stories, Counterfactual, Convolution, Supervalent thought

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


3 September 2023Submitted
26 December 2023Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

19 Sep 2023 08:39

Last Modified:

07 Jan 2024 19:40


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