Autonomy, Universality and Singularity: Bourdieu, Attridge, and Hermans - Autonomie, universaliteit en singulariteit: Bourdieu, Attridge en Hermans

Frans Ruiter Wilbert Smulders


What is the ethical value of autonomous literary fiction? Doesn’t literary autonomy lead inevitably to a powerless l’art pour l’art position? In this article we approach these questions through a discussion of Bourdieu’s ideas on the autonomy of the literary field, and we map his shifting position over the years. We argue that Bourdieu’s concept of autonomy may fruitfully be connected with the notion of singularity of Derek Attridge. To conclude, we illustrate the power of this singularity through the concrete literary example of the ‘autonomous’ author Willem Frederik Hermans.


autonomy; singularity; ethics; W.F. Hermans / autonomie; singulariteit; ethiek; W.F. Hermans

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