Affect(ive) Assemblages: Making Literary Worlds

— Claudia Breger

In response to the ways in which much of contemporary affect theory has conceptualized its workings as asymbolic or in excess of language (as outlined in the conference description), my talk proposes a syncretic model that challenges these oppositions and, I argue, allows us to investigate the multifaceted productivity of affects in the literary communication circuit. Building on a dialogue between (in part diverging) notions of worlding and worldmaking in contemporary affect and narrative theory along with Bruno Latour’s proposals for intertwining ontology and rhetoric, the proposed model conceptualizes the activities of both composition and reading as multidimensional, processual assemblages of entangled affects and tropes, sensations and cultural memories, etc. Resituating literary reference (as productive and piecemeal) along with reception, the model intertwines the power of language to affect with the signifying power of affects. While foregrounding the theoretical dimension of my argument, I plan to develop it through literary examples touching also on the thematic focus on the conference: the making of literary worlds as negotiations of belonging, the recognition of difference, equality, and solidarity.