Reading in Detail: Type and Difference in Unmarked Texts
This talk examines what happens to the detail in texts that refuse certain norms of specification. My focus will be on Anne F. Garréta’s experimental novel, Sphinx (1986), and Toni Morrison’s short story “Recitatif” (1983). Drawing on Lukács’s discussion of realism and typicality, I consider the ways that these unmarked texts mediate between individual and type, as well their approaches to the representation of difference.
Dora Zhang is Associate Professor English and Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley. She has written on topics including Proust and photography, Woolf and the philosophy of language, Barthes’s travels in China, and atmosphere as a phenomenon of everyday life. She is the author of Strange Likeness: Description and the Modernist Novel (Chicago, 2020, “Thinking Literature” series). Upcoming projects include editing and introducing a new annotated version of A Room of One’s Own for the Norton Library.