The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon is a novel of necrophiliac desire. It has a metonymical relation to the global though its governing motif of touch, and minor and individuated senses and gestures that do not fit obviously within a rubric of the scale suggested by "global novel," which conjures terms and qualifications like Anthropocene, global war, financialization and the circulation of world capital, social movements, population, the refugee crisis, new technologies, and the potential for revolutionary uprising by the exploited of the world. The tiny and intimate gestures described in it, especially that of touching another, point to how phenomenology speaks to the category of the global (where philosophy meets the political) through literary figuration, and thus where minor gestures attain a significance beyond themselves. What is at stake in thinking about such intimacies of touch and death, however, deserves a larger backdrop that addresses where, when, how, and why one understands the idea of the "global novel," and the relationship between terms like global, commonwealth, third-world, postcolonial, and world as qualifiers of literary texts.


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pp. 401-418
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