Brouhaha: Worlds of the Contemporary
by Lionel Ruffel
forthcoming June 2017
A rigorous inquiry into the question of the “contemporary” within a plurality of worlds in the era of hyper-mediation and globalization.
The following work began as a classic inquiry, with the hope of determining what the word “contemporary” says about our present relation to time, to history, and to space. But very quickly, a myriad of data, oftentimes contradictory in nature, imposed themselves. A true brouhaha. We could have ignored these contradictions, pretended as if they didn’t exist, and attempted to construct a unitary fiction which would have claimed itself capable of stating the totality of our historical identity. This would have been to misunderstand the profound dynamic translated by the word “contemporary.” Within the hyper-mediated age where knowledge production is becoming decentered and horizontal, the experience of lived time has become a concordance of temporalities. Following suit, the literary imagination which was emblematic of modernity and thoroughly connected to the book form as support structure has now become integrated within a much vaster regime of publication. And as such, thought concerning the world is from now on a thought concerning a plurality of worlds. By way of six guiding threads which are themselves keywords for understanding the contemporary (exposition, media, controversy, publication, institutionalization, archaeology), this essay describes the current transformation of cultural forms and visions of history.
Lionel Ruffel is a professor of comparative literature at the University of Paris 8 and junior member of Institut universitaire de France. He is also the author of Le dénouement (Verdier, 2005) and Volodine post-exotique (Cécile Defaut, 2007).
Raymond N. MacKenzie is professor of English at the University of St. Thomas.
|Details||Paperback | 210 pages | 5 x 8" | Letterpress Cover | Cover Design by Jason Wagner|