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An Anarchist Power Amidst Pessimism: The Overcoming of Optimism in José Saramago's Blindness and Seeing

An Anarchist Power Amidst Pessimism: The Overcoming of Optimism in José Saramago's... James martel An Anarchist Power Amidst Pessimism e O Th vercoming of Optimism in José Saramago’s Blindness and Seeing IntroductIon: can pessImIsts change the world? Thanks in great part to Lauren Berlant’s book Cruel Optim , o isp m timism has come in for a lot of criticism and bad press of late. “Cruel” optimism in particular is seen as a force that holds political subjects to the vagaries of liberal capitalism, using a false form of hope to keep people yoked to the system that oppresses them. It is “cruel” because there never was any hope of the kinds of redemption that liberal capitalism promises (the promise of fulfillment, of happiness, of safety and riches). Optimism in this view is the ae ff ctive dimension of liberal ideology. us, B Th erlant writes of the “cruel optimism and its mode of slow death,” specifi- cally speaking of the way that capitalism promises so much to the liberal subject and delivers so little, particularly in terms of commodification and exchange of goods in the market. Berlant writes (41–42). Under capitalism, money is power and if one has o sur nlyplus amounts of it, sovereignty is infinite and yet a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

An Anarchist Power Amidst Pessimism: The Overcoming of Optimism in José Saramago's Blindness and Seeing

The Comparatist , Volume 43 – Nov 15, 2019

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Comparative Literature and the Arts
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

James martel An Anarchist Power Amidst Pessimism e O Th vercoming of Optimism in José Saramago’s Blindness and Seeing IntroductIon: can pessImIsts change the world? Thanks in great part to Lauren Berlant’s book Cruel Optim , o isp m timism has come in for a lot of criticism and bad press of late. “Cruel” optimism in particular is seen as a force that holds political subjects to the vagaries of liberal capitalism, using a false form of hope to keep people yoked to the system that oppresses them. It is “cruel” because there never was any hope of the kinds of redemption that liberal capitalism promises (the promise of fulfillment, of happiness, of safety and riches). Optimism in this view is the ae ff ctive dimension of liberal ideology. us, B Th erlant writes of the “cruel optimism and its mode of slow death,” specifi- cally speaking of the way that capitalism promises so much to the liberal subject and delivers so little, particularly in terms of commodification and exchange of goods in the market. Berlant writes (41–42). Under capitalism, money is power and if one has o sur nlyplus amounts of it, sovereignty is infinite and yet a

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 15, 2019

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