The material world has been garnering a lot of critical attention recently, and for good reason. In the waning decades of the twentieth century, all that was solid seemed to melt into air as scholars emphasized the linguistic play, discursive construction, and/or ideological encoding of texts both literary and cultural. But as thinkers such as Lawrence Buell, Bill Brown, Eve Sedgwick, Bruno Latour, Wai Chee Dimock, Cary Wolfe, Franco Moretti, Elisabeth Grosz, and Graham Harman have all observed over the past two decades, those critical moves left a lot of stuff out: ecology, things, affect, science, animals, bodies, technology, geology, and so on. Of course, one corner of the humanities, occupied by committed Marxists like Fredric Jameson and David Harvey whose work reliably attended to contemporary political economy, never lost sight of the material at all. And yet, the materialism in today’s “new materialisms” veers...
Insistence of the Material: Literature in the Age of Biopolitics, by Christopher Breu
Mitchum Huehls is associate adjunct professor at UCLA. Working at the intersection of contemporary literature, culture, and politics, he is the author of Qualified Hope: A Postmodern Politics of Time and the forthcoming After Critique: Twenty-First-Century Fiction in a Neoliberal Age.
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Mitchum Huehls; Insistence of the Material: Literature in the Age of Biopolitics, by Christopher Breu. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 September 2015; 61 (3): 424–432. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-3154116
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