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There’s a gap between literary and political responsibility, there must be. But literary responsiveness has ethical and political stakes of its own. Here, it is not a matter of producing particular values or norms, not a matter of producing a morality, but literature can enlarge the scope of what we call ethics and politics.

What does this mean with respect to the Arab Spring, and to the protests in Greece, Spain, Britain and the U.S.? These revolts all ask a question about what is allowed to count as politics, about the political as such. This question is posed by way of what you call a ‘popular resistance’ — by way of the creation of a people, the creation of a commons. And that, for me, is where politics — real politics — begins: in the opening of a space in which we can be political. This is quite different from our ordinary understanding of liberal democracy. Politics is renewed in the streets, the squares, in the open air. I think there is something similar here to the responsiveness we find in the work of Lispector and Cixous.

The Situation in American Writing: Lars Iyer

Readers Comments

  1. Hugely important insights about the writing climate in the States, thanks, to Lars Iyer for defining the problem.

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