Graff Zivin draws upon Jacques Rancière’s notion of literary misunderstanding—malentendu littéraire, which bears a formal compatibility to mésentente politique, or political dissensus or disagreement—in order to develop the first concept that structures this book, as well as the relation between literature, ethics, and politics. Here Graff Zivin turns to an understudied scene from Juan José Saer’s 1983 novel El entenado in order to consider a literary practice that performatively and constatively bears witness to the misunderstanding that constitutes the modern subject.
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