A World without the Novel
The primary objective of the essay is to draw the consequences of a truly consistent deployment of the utopian desire that animates Georg Lukács’s The Theory of the Novel. On the one hand, it is quite evident that for Lukács the theory of the novel is a utopian means of the destruction of the novel form itself. On the other hand, however, I argue that Lukács also shows that this utopian desire for the destruction of the novel form is in reality an essential component of the novel form itself. As a result, the novel form is by definition an attempt to imagine what from the perspective of this form remains unimaginable: a world without the novel. The contemporary relevance of this argument, however, remains obscured until we free it from one of Lukács’s basic metaphysical limitations: we must question the central status of the category of the “world” for the theory of the novel.
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