Literature and "Interregnum"

Globalization, War, and the Crisis of Sovereignty in Latin America

By Patrick Dove

Subjects: Literature, Cultural Studies, Literary Criticism, Latin American Studies, Politics
Series: SUNY series, Literature . . . in Theory
Paperback : 9781438461540, 340 pages, July 2017
Hardcover : 9781438461557, 340 pages, August 2016

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Table of contents


1. Tonalities of Literature in Post-dictatorship Argentina: Mood and History in Post-Utopian Times

2. Mediatization and the Literary Neo-Avant-Garde in Argentina

3. The Dis-jointures of History: Market, Virtuoso Labor, and Natural History in Post-dictatorship Chile

4. Literary Contretemps: Histories of Love, Labor, and Abandonment

5. Repetition or Interruption?: The Fate of Modernity in the Time of Globalization and Global War

Afterword: From Ciudad Juárez to Latin America


Examines literary responses to the impact of economic and technological globalization in Latin America.


Literature and "Interregnum" examines the unraveling of the political forms of modernity through readings of end-of-millennium literary texts by César Aira, Marcelo Cohen, Sergio Chejfec, Diamela Eltit, and Roberto Bolaño. The opening of national spaces to the global capitalist system in the 1980s culminates in the suspension of key principles of modernity, most notably that of political sovereignty. While the neoliberal model subjugates modern forms of social organization and political decision making to an economic rationale, the market is unable to provide a new ordering principle that could fill the empty place formerly occupied by the national figure of the sovereign. The result is a situation that resembles what the Italian political philosopher Antonio Gramsci termed "interregnum," an in-between time in which "the old [order] is dying and the new cannot be born." The recoding of history as literary form provides occasions for reconsidering modern conceptualizations of aesthetic experience, mood, temporality, thought, politics, ethical experience, as well as of literature itself as social institution. In his analysis, Patrick Dove seeks to create dialogues between literature and theoretical perspectives, including Continental philosophy, political thought, psychoanalysis, and sociology of globalization. The author highlights the connections between mass media, technology, politics, and economics.

Patrick Dove is Associate Professor of Spanish at Indiana University and the author of The Catastrophe of Modernity: Tragedy and the Nation in Latin American Literature.


"…a pioneering, even polemical, work that marks an inflection point in Latin American literary and cultural studies and, for that reason, should be essential reading for all Latin Americanists." — Latin American Literary Review

"This is a first-rate, timely, and rigorously theorized intervention that everyone in the field of Latin American literary and cultural studies will have to read, teach, discuss, and cite." — Charles Hatfield, author of The Limits of Identity: Politics and Poetics in Latin America

"Transitioning from literary analysis of Latin American novels to political theory, philosophy, sociology, history, and back, Dove brilliantly performs one of the most difficult tasks of the critic: to think the 'history of the present.' Rather than engaging in blind celebrations of globalization, Dove fearlessly looks straight into the eye of the storm, deploying new vocabularies to helps us grasp contemporary precariousness, new forms of violence, and increasing inequality. In so doing, he mounts a bracing critique of the almost comedic way in which our outdated critical weapons keep firing at the wrong targets. A must read for Latinamericanists and comparatists, as well as for scholars interested in putting interdisciplinarity to work." — Moira Fradinger, author of Binding Violence: Literary Visions of Political Origins