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Razing the wall: Deleuze, Rancière and the politics of New World literatures

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


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Focusing on two essays drawn from Essays Critical and Clinical – ‘Whitman’ and ‘Bartleby; or, The Scrivener’, this essay seeks to widen the Deleuzian lens on New World writing. America in the broadest sense – North and South connected by the broken bridge of the Caribbean archipelago – is a collection of diverse peoples and political bodies, ‘federated states and various immigrant peoples (minorities) – everywhere a collection of fragments’ (Deleuze). This claim ties the fragmentary character of New World writing, Deleuze argues, to the experience of the collective: in short, the political function of literature. However, in exploring the politics of New World writing this essay also draws from Jacques Rancière’s critical reading of ‘Bartleby; or, The Scrivener’. Rancière questions Deleuze’s approach to literature and the fraternal politics that he finds in Melville, interrogating his identification of processes of de/reterritorialisation. Rancière argues that there is no true metamorphosis associated with the literary text because Deleuzian becoming stresses the movement towards a space of pre-individual indeterminacy. While this suggests a significant distinction between a Deleuzian and a Rancièrean aesthetics, I suggest that Rancière’s critique might help us to clarify the processes of de/reterritorialisation in Deleuzian literary analysis.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeleuze and the schizoanalysis of literature
EditorsIan Buchanan, Aidan Tynan, Tim Matts
Place of PublicationLondon and New York
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
ISBN (Print)9781472529633
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

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