Myth of a community deprived of myths. On the contemporary relation between literature and (de-)mythologisation in the work of Jean-Luc Nancy

  • van Rooden, A. (Researcher)

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    My research aims at investigating the contemporary relation between myth, politics and literature, both from a philosophical viewpoint and from that of literary theory. Starting from the early romantic strive for a new mythology, and its reception by Benjamin, Blanchot, Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe, I will argue that a lack of political and social coherence is often accompanied with an appeal to myth.

    Myth in this sense presupposes an entwinement of politics and art wherein the community is conceived of as a work of art to be created and fulfilled. It is this mythological entwinement of politics and art that I will criticize on the basis of the work of the contemporary French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy. As Nancy argues, well have to radically revise, on an ontological level, our western concept of community in order to be able to free it form its mythological foundation. Instead of contesting the lack of political and social coherence by striving for a new mythology, this incoherence itself has to be understood as the essence of community. Community in this sense resist substantialisation, definition and representation and is therefore, as Nancy argues, literary. Literature would then be the interruption of myth.

    In my research I aim to specify this essential literariness of the social and political community and to lay bare the specific concept of literature presupposed by Nancy. As a result I will argue that Nancys conception of literature not only presumes an interruption of myth, but also of literature itself. Inspired by contemporary literary theory I will therefore propose a revision of the relation between literature and community as presented by Nancy, a revision that maybe answers in a more adequate way to the demands made by contemporary society.
    Effective start/end date1/09/051/09/09


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