This essay starts from the fact that commentary in the field of literary theory and history can hardly help but invite a reading that considers it as a fixation of its commented originals’ topics and meanings. Wim Peeters examines the politics of a commentary which, at least in the 20th century, knows this effect all too well, and produces a number of rebellious tactics and movements that resist, sometimes overcome and sometimes reshape the process of such fixations. Broch’s 1945 novel The Death of Virgil serves as a three-fold example of commentary, commented text, and methodically balanced object of a reflective analysis that discovers the bounds and binding mechanisms of commentary while experiencing it. Furthermore, Peeters focuses on the iteration, commentary, and destabilisation of the text of the Quijote in Borges’ Menard. Ultimately, it is the aesthetically co-produced sovereignty of the authoritatively stated intent, the oath that stands as the image, if perhaps not the real possibility, of denying the constant and indefinite “chattering” of comments and commentators, settling also the unsettled stance of a democratic sphere of continuous re-interpretation that they sustain.
This volume contrasts a number of recently suggested concepts of the political – each of which connects to certain instances of art and literature in its discourse – with questions concerning the rigidity of those connections: How strongly do such claims to politics depend on their specific examples, what is the scope of their validity to understand art with regard to politics, and how can they help us grasp the political within other pieces of art? In each case, manners of thinking concepts of the political, the mutual resistance of such concepts and their academic treatment, and the turn towards specific readings informed by those concepts converge.
The essays collected in “Thinking Resistances. Current Perspectives on Politics, Community, and Art“ engage with political phenomena in their interrelations with arts as well as with recent theoretical and philosophical perspectives on the very meaning of politics, the political, and community.
With contributions by Armen Avanessian, Friedrich Balke, Judith Butler, Simon Critchley, Anneka Esch-van Kan, Josef Früchtl, Andreas Hetzel, Jon McKenzie, Dieter Mersch, Chantal Mouffe, Maria Muhle, Nikolaus Müller-Schöll, Stephan Packard, Wim Peeters, Jacques Rancière, Juliane Rebentisch, Gabriel Rockhill, Frank Ruda and Philipp Schulte.