At the heart of the enterprise of writing in relation to research, there exists a tension between the imaginary and the informed; between the literary and the academic narrative, or, taken from a distant view: a tension between the creation of art and knowledge production. This tension does not necessarily imply an opposition, in that different writing registers (style, language, formalism, tradition, etcetera) and their corresponding research strategies have one thing in common: the author’s need to express herself and the desire to explore the ‘known unknown’.
This essay discusses and shows simultaneously the attempt of me as author, both as a researcher and as a novelist, to get a grip on the notion of ‘beginning’ as mediating the space between origin and destination. Embraced by the beginning (and closure) of Michel Foucault’s inaugural lecture at the Collège de France, this text explores the concepts underpinning Edward Said’s definition of the beginning as a ‘first step in the intentional production of meaning’. To connect an intention to write to the actual performance of writing, Roland Barthes proposes that the beginning, or ‘origin’, must be sought in the tendency of the author: a clear, yet elusive determination, at the beginning, in order to begin. Authorisation then comes twofold: from the desire to explore the ‘known unknown’, and from the willingness to internalise and apply multiple voices. A beginning, any beginning, has consequences for all that comes afterwards; within the text (what I am going to say next), as well as outside it (what you will gather from it), thus defining what will be in the end the significance of my attempt.