The Fetish and the Pen. Literature, the new product of capitalism
Original title: Le fétiche et la plume. La littérature, nouveau produit du capitalisme
A brilliant and committed essay with a strong point of view that is particularly timely – as the hyper-concentration of publishing continues apace – about literature’s role in the late Capitalist era.
What role still falls to literature in the late Capitalist era?
Without ever yielding to the populism of a diatribe, this well-documented study with a strong point of view, which is exceptional for both its form and its ambitiousness, demonstrates with acute perspicacity the extent to which, over the past few decades, the process of alienation has been at work in book production in the new “attention economy,” threatening the hitherto uncontested autonomy of the literary field and its own forms of legitimation.
The hyper-concentration of publishing in the hands of just a few mega groups, the increasing proletarization of those involved in the world of books, the symbolic depreciation of writers’ status, marketing’s debasement of the very concept of style, a horizontal redefinition of our relationship to reading, now subjected to the tyranny of tweets and likes, social media’s pernicious effects on book criticism: all of those phenomena, analyzed with great insight, contribute to a general trend toward the dissolution of the very idea of writing in the “temporality of cultural products.”
Above and beyond that dark assessment, the authors look to the still-living horizon of literature reclaiming history, practices, and a new language that are all participating in a kind of integral kind of renaissance.
- Shortlisted for the Prix Femina Essais 2022