All the Difference in the World: Postcoloniality and the by Natalie Melas

By Natalie Melas

This ebook is ready tradition and comparability. beginning with the historical past of the self-discipline of comparative literature and its forgotten relation to the positivist comparative procedure, it inquires into the assumption of comparability in a postcolonial global. comparability used to be Eurocentric via exclusion whilst it utilized basically to eu literature, and Eurocentric via discrimination while it tailored evolutionary versions to put ecu literature on the leading edge of human improvement. This publication argues that inclusiveness isn't really a adequate reaction to postcolonial and multiculturalist demanding situations since it leaves the root of equivalence unquestioned. the purpose isn't really just to deliver extra items below comparability, yet really to ascertain the method of comparability. The ebook bargains a brand new method of the either/or of relativism and universalism, within which comparability is both very unlikely or assimilatory, via focusing as a substitute on quite a few varieties of “incommensurability”—comparisons within which there's a floor for comparability yet no foundation for equivalence. every one bankruptcy develops a selected type of such cultural comparability from readings of significant novelists (Joseph Conrad, Simone Schwartz-Bart), poets (Aimé Césaire, Derek Walcott), and theorists (Edouard Glissant, Jean-Luc Nancy).

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If one allows for combinations that repeat letters – such as the set of all utterable sentences – then the number of alphabetic combinations can no longer be counted by real numbers. Without going beyond a countable twenty-six, our few tokens, grouped in their possible arrangements, rapidly exceed measurement. The uncountable excess of subsets over elements points to a constitutional instability in securing once and for all that of which a multiple consists. For the non-mathematically inclined Badiou’s recourse to set theory might seem overly exacting.

Ibid. p. 12. Agamben, State of Exception, pp. 38–9, 51. Ibid. p. 2. Agamben, The Time That Remains, p. 67. Major Works by Agamben Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998 [1995]). Idea of Prose, trans. Michael Sullivan and Sam Whitsitt (New York: SUNY Press, 1995 [1985]). indd 27 28/07/2010 08:00 Paul Hegarty Infancy and History: On the Destruction of Experience, trans. Liz Heron (London: Verso, 1993 [1978]). Language and Death: The Place of Negativity, trans.

Or, more venally, if someone is injured by a falling wall, when did the event of its fall begin – with its construction years before; when a later addition was added; when a landlord neglected upkeep; when a drought compacted the soil? What is the unity and totality of such falling whereby one could assign it to a cause? With these examples of the broad but still mysterious persistence of events in a modernity that imagines itself disenchanted, we come closer to understanding why events – resistant as they are to expectation, legitimacy, proportion, intuition, community and substantiality – are so compelling, not as anti-modernist holdouts, but as a consequence of modern structural rigour.

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