In the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks, the political situation in both the United States and abroad has often been described as a "state of exception" an emergency situation in which the normal rule of law is suspended. In such a situation, the need for good decisions is felt ever more strongly. This book investigates the aesthetics, ethics, and politics of various decisions represented in novels published around 9/11: Martel's Life of Pi, Eugenides' Middlesex, Coetzee's Disgrace, and Sebald's Austerlitz.
De Boever's readings of the novels revolve around what he calls the 'aesthetic decision.' Which aesthetics do the characters and narrators in the novels adopt in a situation of crisis? How do these aesthetic decisions relate to the ethical and political decisions represented in the novels? What can they reveal about real-life ethical and political decisions? This book uncovers the politics of allegory, autobiography, focalization, and montage in today's planetary state of exception.
About the Author
Arne De Boever is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Director of the MA Program in Aesthetics and Politics in the School of Critical Studies, California Institute of the Arts, USA.