Literary Theories of Uncertainty

Mette Leonard Høeg

As the first study to examine the concept of uncertainty of meaning as it relates to modern and contemporary literature and literary theory, Literary Theories of Uncertainty demonstrates how this notion functions as a literary feature, narrative device and theoretical concept in 20th and 21st-century texts. Calling upon theories of interpretation and challenging the distinction between literature and theory, this exploration is broken down into three sections: Poststructuralist legacies of uncertainty; life-writing and uncertainty; and contemporary literary uncertainties.

The volume takes into account related terms such as undecidability, indeterminacy, ambiguity, unreadability, and obscurity, and the topics examined include: undecidability and the motif of suspension in deconstruction; Derrida and Bataille; poetry as a mode of critical discourse and point of convergence between logico-mathematical ideas of undecidability and literary forms of uncertainty; uncertainty in relation to speech and the impact of Robert Antelme on Mascolo and Blanchot; Proust and temporal uncertainty; uncertainty in relation to death, trauma and autobiography; moral uncertainty in the Scandinavian welfare state and Nordic Noir; the aesthetically disruptive and anti-authorian effect of uncertainty in in the works of German-Turkish writer Emine Sevgi Ozdamar; uncertainty in the form of 'the double' and in relation to meta-fiction; and many more.

Literary Theories of Uncertainty collates original and diverse discussions by some of the most prominent, inquiring minds in literary, cultural and critical theory today to map out the contours of the field of 'theory of uncertainty'.

Published by Bloomsbury, 23 March 2023.