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Editor's Column: Antagonistically Speaking

Editor's Column: Antagonistically Speaking eDiTor'S columN Antagonistically Speaking This issue focuses on antagonisms. The topic's relevance for comparative literature seems at once evident and elusive. This volume asks: How might one conceive of antagonism today? Why are certain forms of antagonism readily made visible while others remain hidden--or simply disavowed (Zizek 23)? How does the field of literary studies manage its own antagonism(s)? Is antagonism--antagonistic rivalry between critics--a hindrance to the faithful work of interpretation? Or is it better understood as, or in terms of, the field's engine of change (cf. Fish 150)? I am reminded here of Michel Foucault's understanding of power: At the very heart of the power relationship, and constantly provoking it, are the recalcitrance of the will and the intransigence of freedom. Rather than speaking of an essential freedom, it would be better to speak of an "agonism"--of a relationship which is at the same time reciprocal incitation and struggle; less of a face-to-face confrontation which paralyzes both sides than a permanent provocation. (221­22) To conceive of the scene of reading as agonistic is to foreground its dialogical force, to highlight interpretation as a struggle for meaning. The contributors of this volume pursue in their own distinct ways http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Editor's Column: Antagonistically Speaking

The Comparatist , Volume 37 (1) – May 12, 2013

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887
Publisher site
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Abstract

eDiTor'S columN Antagonistically Speaking This issue focuses on antagonisms. The topic's relevance for comparative literature seems at once evident and elusive. This volume asks: How might one conceive of antagonism today? Why are certain forms of antagonism readily made visible while others remain hidden--or simply disavowed (Zizek 23)? How does the field of literary studies manage its own antagonism(s)? Is antagonism--antagonistic rivalry between critics--a hindrance to the faithful work of interpretation? Or is it better understood as, or in terms of, the field's engine of change (cf. Fish 150)? I am reminded here of Michel Foucault's understanding of power: At the very heart of the power relationship, and constantly provoking it, are the recalcitrance of the will and the intransigence of freedom. Rather than speaking of an essential freedom, it would be better to speak of an "agonism"--of a relationship which is at the same time reciprocal incitation and struggle; less of a face-to-face confrontation which paralyzes both sides than a permanent provocation. (221­22) To conceive of the scene of reading as agonistic is to foreground its dialogical force, to highlight interpretation as a struggle for meaning. The contributors of this volume pursue in their own distinct ways

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 12, 2013

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