Truth, Politics and Possible Worlds: Hermann Broch’s Der Tod des Vergil and Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America

Stefania Rutigliano

Abstract


This paper deals with the assumption that literature in its striving for truth screens and displays its very cognitive potential and its social impact. It focuses on the relationship between literature and the world that grasps the mimetic question but also the implied idea that reality and truth are not the same. After introducing related theoretical issues, I take a look at art's submission to political power which Herman Broch focused on in The Death of Virgil (Der Tod des Vergil). Particularly interesting are the questions raised in the dialogue between Virgil and Octavian on the distruction of Aeneid. The second novel I deal with, The Plot against America, brings out further considerations related to Roth's choice of alternative history: his questioning of traditional historical narrative and exploring other possibilities of getting to know the past which are more intrinsic to literary imagination and fictional works.

I would like to clarify that I do not mean a comparison between the two novels. I suggest that The Death of Virgil and The Plot Against America develop and specifically articulate two different ways literature tells really or/and imagined events and in so doing look for a sharp Knowledge of them.


Keywords


Fiction; Uchronia; Alternative History; Broch; Roth

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/3747

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-25599

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