Politics and Literature | The American Conservative

 

politics and literature

No matter how many such thinkers are piled atop one another, the belief that "all writing is political in one way or another" is just a way of justifying one's own preference for politics and polemics over literature. The syntagma "politics of literature" means that literature "does" politics as literature—that there is a specific link between politics as a definite way of doing and literature as a definite practice of writing. To make sense of this statement, I will first briefly spell out the idea of politics that is involved in it. Jan 10,  · The best political novels and how they apply to today's political climate. 10 timeless classics of political contemporary literature. The best political novels and how they apply to today's political climate. 10 timeless classics of political contemporary literature. Menu.


Project MUSE - The Politics of Literature


SubStance The politics of literature is not the politics of its writers. It does not deal with their personal commitment to the social and political issues and struggles of their times. Nor does it deal with the modes of representation of political events or the social structure and the social struggles in their books. The syntagma "politics of literature" means that literature "does" politics as literature—that there is a specific link between politics as a definite way of doing and literature as a definite practice of writing.

To make sense of this statement, I will first briefly spell out the idea of politics that is involved in it. Politics is commonly viewed as the practice of power or the embodiment of collective wills and interests and the enactment of collective ideas.

Now, such enactments or embodiments imply that you are taken politics and literature account as subjects sharing in a common world, making statements and not simply noise, discussing things located in a common world and not in your own fantasy. What really deserves the name of politics is the cluster of perceptions and practices that shape this common world.

Politics is first of all a way of framing, among sensory data, a specific sphere of experience. It is a partition of the sensible, of the visible and the sayable, which allows or does not allow some specific data politics and literature appear; which allows or does not allow some specific subjects to designate them and speak about them. It is a specific intertwining of ways of being, ways of doing and ways of speaking, politics and literature.

The politics of literature thus means that literature as literature is involved in this partition of the visible and the sayable, in this intertwining of being, doing and saying that frames a polemical common world. Now the point is: what is meant by "literature as literature"? Surprisingly, politics and literature, few among the political or social commentators of literature have paid attention to literature's own historicity. We know, however, that classifying the art of writing under the notion of "literature" is not old.

We can trace it back to approximately the beginning of the nineteenth century. Politics and literature critics have not often deduced any consequence from this.

Some of them have tried desperately to connect literature politics and literature as the a-historical name of the art of writing in general with politics conceived as a historical set of forces, events and issues. Others have tried to give [End Page 10] a specific content to the notion of literature. Unfortunately this was done on a very weak basis, by referring literature's modernity to the search for an intransitive language. On this basis, the connection was initially flawed.

Either there was no way of binding together literary intransitivity and political action, with "art for art's sake" opposed to political commitment, politics and literature, or one had to assume a quite obscure relationship between literary intransitivity conceived of as the materialistic primacy of the signifier and the materialistic rationality of revolutionary politics. Sartre proposed a kind of gentleman's agreement, by opposing the intransitivity of poetry to the transitivity of prose writing.

Poets, politics and literature, he assumed, used words as things, and had no commitment to the political use of communicative speech. Prose writers, by contrast, used words as tools of communication and were automatically committed to the framing of a common world. But the distinction proved to be inconsistent. After having attributed the opposition to the very distinction of two states of language, Sartre had to explain why prose writers like Flaubert used words in the same "intransitive" way as did poets.

And he had to pursue endlessly the reason for this, both in the sad realities of class struggle in the s and in the neurosis of the young Gustave Flaubert. In other words, he had to pursue outside of literature a political commitment of literature, politics and literature, which he had first purported to ground on its own linguistic specificity. It is not a Access options available:.

Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential politics and literature and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves, politics and literature. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. No institutional affiliation. LOG IN. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: SubStance Additional Information. Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

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Literature and Politics - Oxford Handbooks

 

politics and literature

 

The syntagma "politics of literature" means that literature "does" politics as literature—that there is a specific link between politics as a definite way of doing and literature as a definite practice of writing. To make sense of this statement, I will first briefly spell out the idea of politics that is involved in it. Jul 15,  · (No doubt a number of liberal writers are committed to literature first and politics second, but not all. In fact, a number who view/have viewed literature as a form of political activism are. No matter how many such thinkers are piled atop one another, the belief that "all writing is political in one way or another" is just a way of justifying one's own preference for politics and polemics over literature.