Theory thrives on divisions: the transcendental and the empirical, fiction and reality, the performative and the constative – to name a few. These divisions enable a theoretical architecture that may be variously and endlessly deconstructed, renovated, emended, and expanded. But all of these operations begin with division, and in doing so they leave unthought what ‘it’ is that they are dividing.
This event proposed literality as a way of naming this ‘it’, or as a way of unnaming the divisions according to which ‘it’ is divided. To refuse such division is to insist on the identity between reality and language, and between philosophy and literature. Literality refuses the theoretical choice between the limitation of language and the renewal of realism, between metaphorical erasure and referential location. It refuses them by interrupting – literally – their work, by insisting on itself.
Manifesto by Daniel C. Barber and Alice Gavin
The Literality Manifesto; or, Keep it Real
Talk by Tom McCarthy
Get Real; or, What Jellyfish Have to Tell Us about Literature
Cypher with Tom McCarthy, Daniel C. Barber, and Alice Gavin
Tom McCarthy is a writer and artist whose work has been translated into more than twenty languages. His first novel, Remainder, which deals with questions of trauma and repetition, won the 2008 Believer Book Award and is currently being adapted for cinema. His third, C, which explores the relationship between melancholia and technological media, was a finalist in the 2010 Booker Prize. McCarthy is also author of the non-fiction book Tintin and the Secret of Literature and the novel Men in Space, as well as numerous essays that have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The London Review of Books, Harper’s, and Artforum. In addition, he is founder and General Secretary of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a semi-fictitious avant-garde network of writers, philosophers, and artists. In 2013 he was awarded the inaugural Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction by Yale University.
Daniel Colucciello Barber is a fellow at the ICI Berlin. He is the author of Deleuze and the Naming of God: Post-Secularism and the Future of Immanence (2014) and On Diaspora: Christianity, Religion, and Secularity (2011), as well as contributing co-author of Dark Nights of the Universe (2013). His work, which has appeared in various journals and volumes, is presently focused on the idea of conversion.
Alice Gavin is a fellow at the ICI Berlin. Her work has been published in Textual Practice and Critical Quarterly, while Our Tale Was True, Our Tale Was A Lie, co-authored with Nahal Naficy, is forthcoming in the Dead Letter Office imprint of Punctum Books. Her first monograph (also forthcoming) concerns early twentieth-century literature and silent film.
The event, like all events at the ICI Berlin, is open to the public, free of charge. The audience is presumed to consent to a possible recording on the part of the ICI Berlin. If you would like to attend the event yet might require assistance, please contact Event Management.