- This is the first book of its kind to review a series of contemporary novels in English through the prism of the critical and theoretical categories of grievability and ungrievability. In the wake of Judith Butler’s work on (un-)grievable groups, it addresses the ways in which fiction in English since the 1990s operates in its singularity to delve into the socio-cultural construction of grievability, thereby refining and displacing the more traditional categories of subalternity, inaudibility and invisibility associated with the poetics of postmodernism.
- It also considers these categories in relation with the neighbouring issues of visibility and invisibility, ultimately providing a welcome prism though which to envisage such secular forms as the obituary and the elegy. Such genres provide means to perform mourning or, conversely, postulate an ethics of melancholia through continuing attachment to the departed.
- Central to the objectives of this volume is the idea of providing an analysis of how Butler’s influential categories may be of specific use to literary scholars all the more so as, in our post-trauma age, this traditional function of literature has brought to the fore such aspects of grievability as the influence of race, class, gender and/or sexual orientation in the determination of the grievability or ungrievability of the human beings exposed to individual or collective violence.
- More concretely, this book uses the prism of (un-)grievability to contribute to the study of the ethics and politics of literature, taking on board the ethics and politics of form. It shows how some fictions delve into the lives of those considered ungrievable and are submitted to invisibility and/or illicit dead, while, in perpetrator trauma fictions, it is the perpetrators themselves whose refusal or impossibility to acknowledge the harm done to others under warfare conditions, foster a relation of spectrality that transforms the unfairly killed into ghosts who cannot be laid down to rest.
- The essays collected in this volume relate the relevance of the above-mentioned critical and theoretical categories to various cultural areas of the English-speaking world, charting the singularities and common concerns of an array of contemporary texts and themes relating to various grounds of relegation and invisibilisation.
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