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Palgrave Macmillan

Lyotard, Literature and the Trauma of the differend

ISBN 9781137383341
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

This timely study reconsiders the later work of French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard through the lens of literary theory, offering an innovative and revitalising account of a thinker's conceptual trajectory that remains as yet unmapped. Collating Lyotard's disparate and often contradictory thoughts on literature, this title provides a challenging critique of his continual concern; namely, how to present the unpresentable and so phrase the inaudible Silence to which the differend attests. Against Lyotard, Dylan Sawyer argues that the philosopher errs in his comprehension of the concept itself and so doing delimits the capabilities of a discourse he is elsewhere so keen to valorise. Redressing Lyotard's lack of concrete examples concerning how to attest to the differend in practice, this book offers close examinations of 'literary differends' read in conjunction with narrative texts themselves, ranging from the classical works of Homer to the postmodern authors of today.

Dylan Sawyer received his English Literature Doctorate from Aberystwyth University and his MA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Warwick, UK. His research interests are Post-War Continental Philosophy and late 20th Century Fiction.

List of Abbreviations
1. The Differend and Beyond
2. Housed Exile
3. Homer and Ondaatje
4. The Traumatic Sublime


"Working with and yet also moving beyond Lyotard's philosophy, this provocative, wide-ranging and innovative work of literary theory makes challenging and timely arguments about literature in relation to politics, ethics, suffering and – finally - silence." - Robert Eaglestone, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
'Sawyer's work is a necessary and lyrical account (and calling-to-account) of literature in the face of Lyotard's differend. It is both deeply personal and critically alert, offering a nuanced and sustained negotiation with Lyotard and his philosophy in relation toliterature, its subjects, and what remains, after all, unsaid.' — Will Slocombe, University of Liverpool, UK
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