Spool Five

Kafka: toward a minor literature


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p. 17

The second characteristic of minor literatures is that everything in them is po- litical. In major literatures, in contrast, the individual concern (familial, marital, and so on) joins with other no less individual concerns, the social milieu serving as a mere environment or a background; this is so much the case that none of these Oedipal intrigues are specifically indispensable or absolutely necessary but all become as one in a large space. Minor literature is completely different; its cramped space forces each individual intrigue to connect immediately to politics. The individual concern thus becomes all the more necessary, indispensable,

It is literature that produces an active solidarity in spite of skepticism; and if the writer is in the margins or completely outside his or her fragile community, this situation allows the writer all the more the possibility to express another possible community and to forge the means for another consciousness and another sensibility; just as the dog of “Investigations” calls out in his solitude to another science.

p. 18 - subjectless

machine thus becomes the relay for a revolutionary machine-to-come, not at all for ideological reasons but because the literary machine alone is determined to fill the conditions of a collective enunciation that is lacking elsewhere in this milieu: literature is the people’s concern.3 It is certainly in these terms that Kafka sees the problem. The message doesn’t refer back to an enunciating sub- ject who would be its cause, no more than to a subject of the statement (sujet d’enonce) who would be its effect. Undoubtedly, for a while, Kafka thought ac- cording to these traditional categories of the two subjects, the author and the hero, the narrator and the character, the dreamer and the one dreamed of.4 But he will quickly reject the role of the narrator, just as he will refuse an author’s or master’s literature, despite his admiration for Goethe. Josephine the mouse renounces the individual act of singing in order to melt into the collective enunci- ation of “the immense crowd of the heros of [her] people.” A movement from the individuated animal to the pack or to a collective multiplicity —seven canine musicians. In “The Investigations of a Dog,” the expressions of the solitary researcher tend toward the assemblagof a collective enunciation of the canine species even if this collectivity is no longer or not yet given. There isn’t a subject; there are only collective assemblages of enunciation, and litera- ture expresses these acts insofar as they’re not imposed from without and insofar as they exist only as diabolical powers to come or revolutionary forces to be con- structed. Kafka’s solitude opens him up to everything going on in history today. The letter K no longer designates a narrator or a character but an assemblage that becomes all the more machine-like, an agent that becomes all the more col- lective because an individual is locked into it in his or her solitude (it is only in connection to a subject that something individual would be separable from the collective and would lead its own life). The three characteristics of minor literature are the deterritorialization of lan-

p. 18 three characteristics

The three characteristics of minor literature are the deterritorialization of lan- guage, the connection of the individual to a political immediacy, and the collec- tive assemblage of enunciation.

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