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This chapter stages an encounter (a “philopoesis”) between philosophical and literary enactments of the concept of plasticity, which are applied to a reading of Mathias Énard’s novel Zone (2010). After explicating three approaches to plasticity, those of Catherine Malabou, M. M. Bakhtin and Walter Benjamin, this chapter offers a political reading of the novel, focusing on a “justice dispositif,” which surrounds the experience of the novel’s protagonist, a French Croatian, Francis Servain Mirković, who had enlisted to fight in the ethnic purification-driven Croatian independence war and had reformed. As the novel opens, he has collected an archive of the atrocities in the Mediterranean zone and is bringing them to Rome to sell to the Vatican archives. In addition to mapping the justice dispositif that frames the trajectory of Mirković’s experiences, this chapter suggests a politics of archives that would allow them, in Jacques Derrida’s terms, to “open out [to the] future,” i. e, to be rendered as “plastic” and thus be unsealed and open to ongoing critical commentary.

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