Weihsin Gui's recent monograph asserts the continued significance of both nationalism and postcolonial literature, arguing that postcolonial literary style can help us to understand nationalism as “a critical constellation,” not necessarily unitary or exclusionary (1). To make this argument, he relies heavily on Theodor Adorno, whose negative dialectics, Gui argues, avoids the pitfalls of Hegelian or Marxist dialectics, which, in his view, “tends toward a synthesis that resolves contradictory sociopolitical and intellectual forces” (10). Adorno's argument against instrumental rationality is here mobilized into a distinction between what Gui calls “critical nationality,” evidenced in literature that is “open to what is nonidentical to it as it becomes imbricated with cosmopolitical and transcultural forms,” and, in opposition, “an instrumental nationality that insists on identifying an exclusively determined and extensively defended territory and population” (11). Thus, argues Gui, through Adorno we might move from “a...
Book Review|November 01 2015
Novel (2015) 48 (3): 485-489.
Madhumita Lahiri; Postcolonial Adorno. Novel 1 November 2015; 48 (3): 485–489. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-3150477
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