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Kundera and Ionesco on the Unmistakable Awareness of Being Minor

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https://doi.org/10.5070/T22144125Creative Commons 'BY-NC' version 4.0 license
Abstract

Deleuze and Guattari’s 1975 text, Kafka, pour une littérature mineure, posited a theory concerning some groups of literary texts including those of Franz Kafka. Their theory was nevertheless highly connected to their own historical and geographical context in France, and much less so with that of Kafka who had himself previously attempted to theorize small literatures. By looking at the context of Kafka and of two other writers who might be considered as belonging to minor literary contexts, I argue that theorists of minor literature tend to view minor literature in a positive way when their own cultural context is further from nation-state building. On the other hand, those writers who are writing from inside nation-building contexts tend to emphasize minor literature’s limits on literary production. Interestingly, Milan Kundera and Eugene Ionesco who had first-hand experience of nation-building contexts, but then moved to France and wrote in French, take more nuanced views of minor literatures as they are further removed in time and space from their original minor contexts.

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