Against the Tyranny of Progress. Exercises in Resistance in DeLillo and Sebald

  • Arturo Mazzarella
Keywords: Progress, Nihilism, Resistance, Present, Revolution,

Abstract

The essay aims at offering a critical revision of the category of “progress”, which had a central role in the theoretical and political lexicon of modernity and which to this day continues to maintain its full value. As evidenced by Nietzsche throughout his oeuvre, what is often forgotten is the nihilist root of the category of progress, projected for the sake of an endless, individual and collective advancement onto a temporal framework that nullifies the dimension of the present. In view of this, a Foucauldian resistance to the temptations of progress translates into an attempt to create an imaginary that sees the present time, with its unpredictable metamorphoses, as the single historical moment when actual change is possible. This is exemplified by the two novels on which the essay is focused: Sebald’s Austerlitz and DeLillo’s Point Omega.

Author Biography

Arturo Mazzarella

Arturo Mazzarella teaches Comparative Literature at Roma Tre University. In recent years he has been interested in investigating the key components of contemporary aesthetic imaginary. On this topic, he has published: La grande rete della scrittura. La letteratura dopo la rivoluzione digitale (Bollati Boringhieri, 2008); Politiche dell’irrealtà. Scritture e visioni tra Gomorra e Abu Ghraib (Bollati Boringhieri, 2011); and Il male necessario. Etica ed estetica sulla scena contemporanea (Bollati Boringhieri, 2014).

References

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Butler, Judith, The Psychic Life of Power (1997), trad. it. La vita psichica del potere. Teorie del soggetto, Ed. Federico Zappino, Milano, Mimesis, 2013.

Ead., Undoing Gender ( 2004), trad. it. Fare e disfare il genere, Ed. Federico Zappino, Milano, Mimesis, 2014.

Deleuze, Gilles, L’image-temps. Cinema 2 (1985), trad. it. L’immagine-tempo. Cinema 2, Milano, ubulibri, 1989.

DeLillo, Don, Point Omega (2010), trad.it. Punto Omega, Torino, Einaudi, 2010.

Foucault, Michel, La volonté de savoir (1976), trad. it. La volontà di sapere, Milano, Feltrinelli, 1978.

Nietzsche, Friedrich, Also sprach Zarathustra (1883-85), trad. it. Così parlò Zarathustra, in F. Nietzsche, Opere, Eds. Giorgio Colli-Mazzino Montinari, Milano, Adelphi, 1968, VI, 1.

Schmitt, Carl, Die Tyrannei der Werte. Überlegungen eines Juristen zur Wert-Philosophie (1960-67), trad.it. La tirannia dei valori. Riflessioni di un giurista sulla filosofia dei valori, Ed. Giovanni Gurisatti, Milano, Adelphi, 2008.

Sebald, Winfried G., Austerlitz (2001), trad.it. Austerlitz, Milano, Adelphi, 2002.

Published
2015-11-30
How to Cite
Mazzarella, A. (2015). Against the Tyranny of Progress. Exercises in Resistance in DeLillo and Sebald. Between, 5(10). https://doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/2089
Section
Logics of Power, Practices of Resistance