States of Exception in the Contemporary Novel: Martel, Eugenides, Coetzee, Sebald by Arne De BoeverStates of Exception in the Contemporary Novel: Martel, Eugenides, Coetzee, Sebald by Arne De Boever

States of Exception in the Contemporary Novel: Martel, Eugenides, Coetzee, Sebald

byArne De Boever

Paperback | November 21, 2013

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In the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks, the political situation in both the United States and abroad has often been described as a "state of exception": an emergency situation in which the normal rule of law is suspended. In such a situation, the need for good decisions is felt ever more strongly. This book investigates the aesthetics, ethics, and politics of various decisions represented in novels published around 9/11: Martel's Life of Pi, Eugenides' Middlesex, Coetzee's Disgrace, and Sebald's Austerlitz. De Boever's readings of the novels revolve around what he calls the 'aesthetic decision.' Which aesthetics do the characters and narrators in the novels adopt in a situation of crisis? How do these aesthetic decisions relate to the ethical and political decisions represented in the novels? What can they reveal about real-life ethical and political decisions? This book uncovers the politics of allegory, autobiography, focalization, and montage in today's planetary state of exception.
Arne De Boever is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Director of the MA Program in Aesthetics and Politics in the School of Critical Studies, California Institute of the Arts, USA.
Title:States of Exception in the Contemporary Novel: Martel, Eugenides, Coetzee, SebaldFormat:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 8 × 5 × 0.68 inPublished:November 21, 2013Publisher:BloomsburyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1623569524

ISBN - 13:9781623569525


Table of Contents

Dedication Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Introduction: Decision Time A. September 11 and the Aesthetic Decision B. The Chapters C. Schmitt, Hobbes, Benjamin, Burnham Chapter One: States of Exception in Yann Martel's Life of Pi A. Introduction B. Political State of Exception C. Psychic State of Exception D. Theological State of Exception E. The Politics of Allegory Chapter Two: Autobiography and Human Rights in Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex A. A Failure of Reading B. Reading Human Rights C. The Political Life of Sex D. Sex in Theory E/ Autobiography and Messianism Chapter Three: Literary Economies in J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace A. Disgrace, Once More B. The Circular Economy of Violence C. Reading Incest D. Lucy's Count E. Lucy as "the part of those who have no part" F. From Animals to Aesthetic Economy Chapter Four: Architectures of Exception in W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz A. Architecture, Trauma, and the Camps B. Reading Fortifications C. The Cabinet of Wonder D. Architectures of the Uncanny E. Moving Testimony F. The Novel in Motion; or: The Politics of Austerlitz's Aesthetic Conclusion: From Exception to Care A. Crisis and Play B. Biopolitics, the Novel, and Care Bibliographic References Index

Editorial Reviews

"Arne De Boever offers a strikingly consistent and nuanced analysis of four important contemporary novels. His interdisciplinary theoretical approach, which combines present-day political theory with in-depth literary criticism, generates innovative insights. This highly readable book provides convincing and often fascinating interpretations that will be of value to students and scholars of literature as well as critical/political theory." -- Hilde Staels, Associate Professor of English Literature / Literary Theory, University of Leuven, Belgium