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Call for papers for the 20th issue of the review TRANS— « Resisting literature »

To what extent can we consider creation as an act of resistance? What are we resisting? What does resisting mean? While the notion of resistance through literature is rather precise in an French historico-ideological imagination (the Resistance during the 2nd World War), that of resisting literature itself is troublesome and raises several questions, the first being why resist it: out of political ambition, out of literary ambition, or out of artistic compartmentalization?

In the field of literature, we observe different forms of resistance: that of the writer when he or she can no longer write, or refuses to write; that of the reader when he or she can not or can no longer read, or when he or she refuses to create the plot; and finally, the text itself can resist through the impossibility of its transmission. That leads us to conclude that there must also be resistance in the evolution of literature: to its technical progress, to editorial norms, or even to its physical representation since, as an object, the book resists against changes to its form and to its media (especially since the emergence of digital formats).

The notion of resistance to literary norms raises the question of categorization (and that of genres) driven by the institutions that reign over cultural products. We could also therefore speak of resistance to norms (linguistic, formal, or editorial), to categorizations dictated by literary markets, and to uses made of literature over time (literature in the service of political agendas, subject to trends, etc.). In a way, we can speak of the same difficulties that a text comes across when it’s translated since transculturality, beyond the openness it may signify, also includes the potential for rejection.

How is a work, or a literary current, received by a different culture? In what way do they meet resistance when they go from one horizon of expectations to another? To what extent does a writer take into account this potential resistance to his or her writing? In other words, for whom does one write?

As Deleuze stated in the conference « What is the creative act? », « the act of resistance has two faces. It is human and it is also the act of art. Only the act of resistance resists death, either as a work of art or as human struggle. » Does resisting or opposing resistance to literature then imply once and for all that literature is not sufficient, or not adequate to express what’s at stake? Do the forms of literary resistance observed necessarily imply positioning oneself « beyond literature? » Do they imply taking a stance « against literature? » Or is it simply a question of a temporary difficulty that might be resolved – or bypassed – through literature itself?

Taking the question a notch further, could we not consider this issue of resistance as a turning point that might lead us to re-think literature and its representations by allowing us to temporarily remove ourselves from it in order to better « re-integrate » it? In the end, thinking about resisting literature obliges us to ask ourselves – even if it may seem trite – what literature is, for resisting it means defining its borders in order to act from without.

It is a matter then of understanding and questioning the notion of creation in the largest sense possible, keeping literature as the starting point, but allowing for it to be opposed to other disciplinary fields.

This subject is not exclusive to any period or genre. It does however require a comparative approach. Proposals (3000 characters), accompanied by a short bibliography and a short description of the author, must be sent before March 15th 2016 in .DOC or .RTF format to Selected articles must then be sent before May 25th 2016. We remind you that the journal of comparative literature TRANS— accepts articles written in French, English and Spanish.

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