Literature is a meeting point for intersecting lines of thought and feeling about the world. Without any intrinsic being, literature perhaps only persists by forming connections with things outside of it. As the German critic Theodore Adorno observes in his Aesthetic Theory: “Art is autonomous and it is not…. The great epics, which have survived even their own oblivion, were in their age intermingled with historical and geographical reportage.”
Like its object of study, the discipline of literary criticism survives by making connections to other disciplines and to other ways of thinking and feeling about the world. Literary thinking, in this sense, is networked thinking. It is intermingled with other modes of discourse such as the philosophical, the linguistic, the political, the social, the geographical, the theological and the sexual.
Image: Imants Tillers & Michael Nelson Jagamara, Fatherland, 2008, synthetic polymer paint & gouache on 90 canvas boards, 228x356cm. Image courtesy of the artists and FireWorks Gallery