Sites of Recognition: Literature and Social Form After WWII
thesisposted on 28.10.2017, 00:00 by Vincent Joseph Adiutori
Sites of Recognition: Literature and Social Form Since WWII investigates literature’s response to the late 20th century’s turn toward recognition as a framework for understanding the relationship between art and society. While many critics identify recognition as one of art’s greatest potential contributions to social relations, my dissertation contends that literature’s relationship to recognition is more contentious and critical than is commonly understood. Moreover, recognition achieves its status within the study of literature primarily because of its potential social and political effects. Yet, while literature offers a particularly fecund site to study characteristics of social relations, not all literature values recognition for the same reasons. As my dissertation argues, evidence suggests a counter tradition within contemporary literature that explores the potential limitations and dangers that follow from a social vision grounded in claims of recognition. The works of literature studied in the dissertation address problems of recognition in various ways. Beginning from questions that range from art and genre to identity and war, the novels studied in my dissertation demonstrate not only the impact theories of recognition have had on literature but also the rejoinders literature offered in disputing the imperatives of recognition.