Abstract

Abstract:

Kleist Prize recipient Yoko Tawada's work is often interpreted in terms of cultural and linguistic difference. This article offers a different, materialist reading of her 2004 novel Das nackte Auge (The Naked Eye). Tawada's text here emerges as a critique of racial capital in the postsocialist condition. Structured textual gaps or Leerstellen—not as text-reader interaction but as "omission of the field to come" (Ernst Bloch)—delineate in literary form an alternative idea of communism: a utopian definition of Heimat (homeland) contesting precarious actualities. The novel's least verisimilar episode indicates that even in Das nackte Auge's most avant-garde moments, Tawada implies a peripheral-utopian realism that aspires to map and at once look beyond global capital. Offering new perspectives on Tawada's work, the article's further aim is to make the case for thinking difference differently. Following the introduction, the first section establishes the novel's implicit critique of racial capital by reading three textual vignettes through materialist antiracisms. The second section connects this critique with peripheral realism as a framework for contemporary Marxian aesthetics. The close analysis in the third section fuses historical materialism with attention to the text's materiality to develop the formal argument concerning structured textual gaps. Juxtaposing Das nackte Auge's "Western" (capitalist) and "Eastern" (socialist) imaginaries, the final two sections think through the Left's double impasse in the postindustrial, postsocialist present to address the broader stakes—envisioning a concrete utopian horizon for radical Left politics and aesthetics.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1911-026X
Print ISSN
0037-1939
Pages
pp. 475-503
Launched on MUSE
2018-11-27
Open Access
No
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