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Power and Literature

Strategies of Subversiveness in the Romanian Novel

Series: mimesis, 71
Now in paperback

At the core of this book lies the relation between Power (as socio-political phenomenon) and the novel (as literary discourse). It shows that, in a society facing the excess of power in its various forms, novelistic fiction mediates knowledge about societal Power structures and uses specific strategies to subvert and denounce them.

The first part of the study is theoretical: it presents some of the most prominent theories of Power, from Plato, Machiavelli, Nietzsche to Weber, Dahl, Lukes, Parsons, Bourdieu or Foucault. After offering a critical approach to the concepts of Power defined in the social, political and philosophical fields, it articulates the relations of Power imprinted in literary discourse within a typology of four categories.

In the second part of the book, this taxonomy of Power is applied to four key novels in the context of Romanian "literary crossroads", showing how novelistic fiction not only assume a critical and subversive position against the excess of Power, but also unveils our fragility when experiencing History.

Author Information

Florin Oprescu, University of Vienna, Austria.
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Audience: Literary Scholars (Romance and Romanian Studies)