By Djelal Kadir
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Additional resources for Memos from the besieged city : lifelines for cultural sustainability
His imposed nomadism as outlaw, literally and metaphorically, serves as the most overt paradigm for the shiftlessness that will emerge as an indispensable trait of comparatism Introduction and as an often-neglected model for geographically defined epistemologies that govern what we would eventually call international American studies. His personal vicissitudes and their textual transformations adumbrate the fate of poets and poetry discussed in this book, such as Zbigniew Herbert, the predicament of ethicists such as Hannah Arendt, and the political/geographical nomadism of contemporary writers such as Gao Xingjian and Orhan Pamuk.
This absence could well be read as Auerbach’s own disguise, his cloak of invisibility. And this strategic gambit, as the conjunction of our “functional space,” an overture that hides something at an incipient point of convergence, functions more as a problem than as a nostos, or homing. ” As a threshold to “modes of representation of reality,” as the descriptive subtitle of Mimesis avers, this spatial threshold serves as a performative opening onto the representational culture of a long tradition.
Whether in classical epic or in tragedy, in devotional auto de fé or in modern and postmodern theater of the absurd, the people’s republic and the republic of letters have often proved inimical to each other, though the struggle has often spurred literary production as contestation. Comparative literature has inevitably found itself caught between, with the comparatist often surviving in being turned out as refugee and displaced cosmopolitan. Thus, comparative literature’s practitioners have most often acquired their worldliness as the castoffs of their life-world, no less so than the seminal literary figures they most often study, from Ovid to Dante to any one of the figures featured in this book.