Sites in the Novel

Moacir P. de Sá Pereira
University of Chicago
Vilnius Gediminas Technical University
http://moacir.com
@muziejus

Pat Lonigan’s time travel

Pat Lonigan's trip

Pat Lonigan’s time travel

“I’ll stay here and we’ll make America like Russia.”
Farrell, p. 946.

Politics in the novel

Politics in the novel

It seems to be easier for us today to imagine the thoroughgoing deterioration of the earth and of nature than the breakdown of late capitalism.
Jameson, “The Antinomies of Postmodernity,” 50

Politics in the novel

Every novel is a box of revolutionary building blocks.

Contemporary literary criticism

  • Critique
  • Historicism
  • Subject focus
  • Assembly
  • Geohistoricism
  • Object focus

Facets of critique

Felski

Limits of historicism

Did it start with Bergson, or before? Space was treated as the dead, the fixed, the undialectical, the immobile. Time, on the contrary, was richness, fecundity, life, dialectic.
Foucault, 70.

Limits of subjectivity

I therefore want to forecast yet a fourth moment for theory, as yet on the other side of the horizon. This one has to do with the theorizing of collective subjectivities… One wants to think of formulations (and indeed diagrams) for collectivities that are at least as complex and stimulating as those of Lacan for the individual unconscious.
Jameson, “Symptoms of Theory or Symptoms for Theory?,” 406

Objects

Objects are dynamic systems that… are entangled in one another, that are operationally withdrawn from one another… and that are defined by their affects, powers, or what they can do… While objects can and do enter into relations with other objects, their being qua substances is characterized by “independent-being” or the ability to break with relations to other objects and enter into new relations with other systems.
Bryant, 13

Spacetime and Chronotope

We will give the name chronotope… to the intrinsic connectedness of temporal and spatial relationships that are artistically expressed in literature. [Chronotope] expresses the inseparability of space and time… Time, as it were, thickens, takes on flesh, becomes artistically visible; likewise, space becomes charged and responsive to the movements of time, plot and history.
Bakhtin, 84

Assembly

The critic is not the one who debunks, but the one who assembles. The critic is not the one who lifts the rugs from under the feet of the naïve believers, but the one who offers the participants arenas in which to gather.
Latour, 239

So what gets built?

Another world is possible

So what gets built?

However, if method is interactively performative, and helps to make realities, then the differences between research findings produced by different methods or in different research traditions have an alternative significance. No longer different perspectives on a single reality, they become instead the enactment of different realities… The shift is from epistemology… to ontology… It is a shift that moves us from a single world to the idea that the world is multiply produced in diverse and contested social and material relations.
Law and Urry, 397

Three techniques of doing thinking

Gibson-Graham, 618

Three techniques of working the aesthetic encounter with the novel

Gibson-Graham, 618

Heteroglossia / разноречие

The novel orchestrates all its themes, the totality of the world of objects and ideas depicted and expressed in it, by means of the social diversity of speech types [разноречие]… each of them permits a multiplicity of social voices and a wide variety of their links and interrelationships… This movement of the theme through different languages and speech types, its dispersion into the rivulets and droplets of social heteroglossia… this is the basic distinguishing feature of the stylistics of the novel.
Bakhtin, 263

So what gets built?

Another world is possible

So what gets built?

Another world exists

Sites in the Novel

Sites

Developed from several strands of so-called ‘flat ontologies’, our onto-analytic object is the site: an immanent (self-organising) event space that is differentiated and differentiating, but whose emergent properties also include congealments and blockages.
Woodward et al., 272

Orientations toward the site

The site of the state

The state is

an X (to be determined) which successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical and symbolic violence over a definite territory and over the totality of the corresponding population.
Bourdieu, 3.

What Dos Passos creates

U. S. A. is the slice of a continent. U. S. A. is a group of holding companies, some aggregations of trade unions, a set of laws bound in calf, a radio network, a chain of moving picture theatres, a column of stockquotations rubbed out and written in by a Western Union boy on a blackboard, a publiclibrary full of old newspapers and dogeared historybooks with protests scrawled on the margins in pencil. U. S. A. is the world’s greatest rivervalley fringed with mountains and hills, U. S. A. is a set of bigmouthed officials with too many bankaccounts. U. S. A. is a lot of men buried in their uniforms in Arlington Cemetery. U. S. A. is the letters at the end of an address when you are away from home. But mostly U. S. A. is the speech of the people.
Dos Passos, 2–3

Works cited

  • Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhailovich. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Edited by Michael Holquist. Translated by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981.
  • Bourdieu, Pierre. “Rethinking the State: Genesis and Structure of the Bureaucratic Field.” Translated by Loic J. D. Wacquant and Samar Farage. Sociological Theory 12, no. 1 (1994): 1–18. doi:10.2307/202032.
  • Bryant, Levi. “Of Parts and Politics: Onticology and Queer Politics.” Identities 8, no. 1 (2011): 13–28.
  • Dos Passos, John. U.S.A. Library of America. 1938. New York: Library of America, 1996.
  • Farrell, James T. Studs Lonigan: a Trilogy. 1935. New York: Library of America, 2004.
  • Felski, Rita. “Critique and the Hermeneutics of Suspicion.” M/C Journal, 15, no. 1 (2012).
  • Foucault, Michel. “Questions on Geography.” In Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972–1977, edited and translated by Colin Gordon. New York: Pantheon Books, 1980.
  • Jameson, Fredric. “Symptoms of Theory or Symptoms for Theory?” Critical Inquiry 30, no. 2 (2004): 403–408.
  • Jameson, Fredric. “The Antinomies of Postmodernity.” In The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern 1983-1998, 50–72. London: Verso, 1998.
  • Law, John, and John Urry. “Enacting the Social.” Economy and Society 33, no. 3 (2004): 390–410. doi:10.1080/0308514042000225716.
  • Woodward, Keith, John Paul Jones III, and Sallie A. Marston. “Of Eagles and Flies: Orientations toward the Site.” Area 42, no. 3 (September 2010): 271–280

Thanks!
http://moacir.com/talks/sites-in-the-novel-fasi14/

Moacir P. de Sá Pereira
University of Chicago
Vilnius Gediminas Technical University
http://moacir.com
@muziejus

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