Indisciplined Literature: Aesthetics and Geo‑Somatics after the Waning of Affect


Abstract: The essay’s starting point is the “affective turn” in criticism and theory. As the author contends, the shift in question is a post‑Cold War era hallmark insofar as the large amount of theory this reorientation has engendered boils down essentially to an argument about the reinscription of the sentient body into the world. What we are dealing with, then, is a correlation of the affective and the embodiment imaginary accompanying it, on the one side, and, on the other side, the geopolitical. The first half of this article provides an overview of affective aesthetics, thus setting up the discussion in the second part. The latter consists in drawing out some of the methodological and disciplinary implications of the rising aesthetics, more exactly, of its philosophical underpinnings for dealing effectively with 21st‑century literature in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world— with a literature, namely, that is more and more of the world and of this world’s global present. In dialogue with the fiction of Mircea Cărtărescu, Moraru proposes that such dealings must come to grips with a literary output whose makeup, production, circulation, and reception are increasingly short‑shrifted by their “cubicular” study, that is, by the analytic and political “disciplining” and territorialization of literature within traditional disciplines, departments, and their national‑territorialist epistemologies.

Keywords: postmodernism/post‑postmodernism, affect, affective turn, aesthetics, embodiment, world, immanence, event, change, politics, geopolitics, geophilosophy, postcommunism, relationality, heterogenesis, territory/reterritorialization, boundary, imaginary mapping, disciplinarity, Cărtărescu, Deleuze, Guattari, Foucault