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Dirk Wiemann

Being Taught Something World-Sized

‘The Detainee’s Tale as told to Ali Smith’ and the Work of World Literature
This paper reads ‘The Detainee’s Tale as told to Ali Smith’ (2016) as an exemplary demonstration of the work of world literature. Smith’s story articulates an ethics of reading that is grounded in the recipient’s openness to the singular, unpredictable, and unverifiable text of the other. More specifically, Smith’s account enables the very event that it painstakingly stages: the encounter with alterity and newness, which is both the theme of the narrative and the effect of the text on the reader. At the same time, however, the text urges to move from an ethics of literature understood as the responsible reception of the other by an individual reader to a more explicitly convivial and political ethics of commitment beyond the scene of reading.
Keywords: Ali Smith; anagogy; ethics; Refugee Tales; singularity; world literature
Title
Being Taught Something World-Sized
Subtitle
‘The Detainee’s Tale as told to Ali Smith’ and the Work of World Literature
Author(s)
Dirk Wiemann
Identifier
DOI Target
HTML Page
Description
This paper reads ‘The Detainee’s Tale as told to Ali Smith’ (2016) as an exemplary demonstration of the work of world literature. Smith’s story articulates an ethics of reading that is grounded in the recipient’s openness to the singular, unpredictable, and unverifiable text of the other. More specifically, Smith’s account enables the very event that it painstakingly stages: the encounter with alterity and newness, which is both the theme of the narrative and the effect of the text on the reader. At the same time, however, the text urges to move from an ethics of literature understood as the responsible reception of the other by an individual reader to a more explicitly convivial and political ethics of commitment beyond the scene of reading.
Is Part Of
Place
Berlin
Publisher
ICI Berlin Press
Date
2021
Subject
Ali Smith
anagogy
ethics
Refugee Tales
singularity
world literature
Rights
© by the author(s)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Language
en-GB
short title
Something World-Sized
page start
149
page end
172
Source
The Work of World Literature, ed. by Francesco Giusti and Benjamin Lewis Robinson, Cultural Inquiry, 19 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2021), pp. 149–72
Bibliographic Citation
Dirk Wiemann, ‘Being Taught Something World-Sized: ‘The Detainee’s Tale as told to Ali Smith’ and the Work of World Literature’, in The Work of World Literature, ed. by Francesco Giusti and Benjamin Lewis Robinson, Cultural Inquiry, 19 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2021), pp. 149–72 <https://doi.org/10.37050/ci-19_07>

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Cite as: Dirk Wiemann, ‘Being Taught Something World-Sized: ‘The Detainee’s Tale as told to Ali Smith’ and the Work of World Literature’, in The Work of World Literature, ed. by Francesco Giusti and Benjamin Lewis Robinson, Cultural Inquiry, 19 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2021), pp. 149–72 <https://doi.org/10.37050/ci-19_07>
Dirk Wiemann, ‘Being Taught Something World-Sized: “The Detainee’s Tale as told to Ali Smith” and the Work of World Literature’, in The Work of World Literature, ed. by Francesco Giusti and Benjamin Lewis Robinson, Cultural Inquiry, 19 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2021), pp. 149-72 <https://doi.org/10.37050/ci-19_07>

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