Scenes of Writing, Scenes of Looking : Don DeLillo, Claus Beck-Nielsen, and the Politics of the Novel
Sammanfattning: Cries of the death of the novel and even of literature in general have become cultural commonplaces. In an age seemingly dominated by digital spectacle, many seem to think that traditional print literature has become an almost obsolete cultural practice, bereft of any critical social and political relevance. Combining theories and concepts from such diverse fields as Comparative Literature, Intermedial Studies and Visual Culture Studies, Morten Feldtfos Thomsen argues for the continued cultural relevance of the print novel not only as a form of aesthetic expression and experience, but also as a form of political intervention. Through readings of novels by American author Don DeLillo, and Danish writer and avant-garde artist Claus Beck-Nielsen, he argues that the print novel can engage in a critical and potentially subversive redistribution of what can be seen, said and generally perceived in contemporary society. Following French philosopher Jacques Rancière’s writings on perception as the ground of both aesthetics and politics, as well as W.J.T. Mitchell’s theories on multimodality and mixed media, Scenes of Writing, Scenes of Looking investigates the formal and thematic manifestation in DeLillo’s and Beck-Nielsen’s novels of an imagetext discourse, i.e. an intermingling of images and words, looking and writing. Such strategies insistently interrogate the relationship of mediation and perception to one another as well as the ideological underpinnings thereof. In doing so, the novels participate in the construction and possible disruption of the perceptual field of experience that underpins social order and political engagement. More than merely a self-absorbed play with media and modalities, DeLillo’s and Beck-Nielsen’s insistent mixing of words and images, the verbal and the visual, constitutes a deeply political interrogation of the conditions of possibility that govern our perceptions of the world and our mode of participation and interaction with it.
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