Literature and power: consent and dissent forms and functions

  • Mario Domenichelli Università di Firenze
Keywords: Power, literature, Ideologie Kritik, cultural memory, cultural hegemony


Mimetic fictions, mimetic narratives are the multi-faceted multiplication of some foundation myth representing the legitimation of any political power based on the consent on common values, common beliefs grounding the common political ratio, and the social pact in democratic societies. This also implies the consent on the common dissent on behaviours, opinions, and values shaping some counter-foundation myth, or simply denying the truth of any given master-fiction. Literature often  defines its own autonomy from any given power, its own pureté detached from the materiality and violence of history and the struggle for power. As a matter of fact the production of fictions opens an imaginary space in which cultural memory, history itself, takes its shape in the dialectic of memory and oblivion. Mass culture largely coincides with the production of mimetic fictions and therefore with the production space of both global consent and  global conflict and dissent. In this global/glocal space a new intellectual must invent a new critical language.


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Author Biography

Mario Domenichelli, Università di Firenze

Mario Domenichelli has taught English, American, Italian literature and culture at Urbino, Bologna, Cagliari, Pisa, Florence, and also at Middlebury College (VT), and Mogadishu. He was for some six years the President of Compalit (Associazione di letterature comparate), and the Coordinateur Général du Réseau Européen d’études Littéraires comparées (REELC). He is a member of the editing Committee of “Moderna”, the Italian Review of Literary Theory and Literary criticism. He has published a number of books and some 180 shorter essays (on Modernism, Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Shakespeare; on the apprenticeship novel, the historical novel, on the literary representations of history; on cultural studies, on the European literary Canon. Among his books: Il limite dell’ombra. Le figure della soglia nel teatro inglese tra Cinque e Seicento (1994); Cavaliere e Gentiluomo (2002); il Dizionario dei temi letterari (2007, co-autore), Lo scriba e l’oblio (2012). He has edited special issues of literary reviews on Petrarchanism (“In forma di parole”); Literary theory in Europe; Auerbach studies; Cultura/Culture (“Moderna”); migrant writing (“La modernità Letteraria). He has also edited proceedings of seminars and conferences (The Spectre of a Rose. Intersections, on T.S. Eliot; Lo straniero, Lo spazio della Conversazione, Metamorfosi, mostri e labirinti). He has directed the national research project on “La guerra dei teatri” to which he also contributed with four essays on Shakespeare, Theatre, Power and Censure in the ancien régime; he has edited and translated Pope & Swift (Martinus Scriblerus), Galsworthy, Dickens, Conrad, Kipling, Shakespeare.


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How to Cite
Domenichelli, M. (2015). Literature and power: consent and dissent forms and functions. Between, 5(10).
Logics of Power, Practices of Resistance