Autonomy, the Singular Literary Work, and the Multilingualism of Hermans’s ‚Nooit meer slapen‘ - Autonomie, het singuliere literaire werk en de meertaligheid in Hermans’ ‚Nooit meer slapen‘

Derek Attridge


This essay proposes singularity as a more useful concept than autonomy in understanding the distinctiveness of literary practice, and discusses some theorizations of this concept by Jacques Derrida and Timothy Clark. The relation of ethics to singularity is discussed, and it is argued that the responsibility of the reader to do justice to the singularity of the literary work has an ethical dimension. As an example, the multilingualism of W.F. Hermans’s Nooit meer slapen is examined.


Singularity; ethics; responsibility; multilingualism / singulariteit; ethiek; verantwoordelijkheid; meertaligheid; W.F. Hermans

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