In this episode we read from the first chapter after the prologue up to "Swan and Alex."
First, Hilary and Matt start by discussing the work of Lauren Berlant, an eminent literary critic and feminist theorist from the University of Chicago who passed away recently. Berlant's work focuses on affect, agency, attachment, the sentimental, literature, politics, human-being, normativity, and innumerable other topics, in ways that help illuminate the questions we discuss so much: how does change happen (or not), and what does literature (or art) have to do with it? Matt and Hilary explore some of the ways Berlant's work might shed light KSR's novels. There are elements in 2312, especially around attachment and habit and gender, that Berlant's ideas may help illuminate. We discuss pieces including Cruel Optimism, "Poor Eliza," and The Queen of America Goes to Washington City.
We get started talking about the novel about 37 minutes in (in case you're anxious) and talk about Swan and her relationship to herself, her art, Alex, and Wahram. The role of art in 2312 seems especially important, particularly because the people of Mercury appear to be able to live their lives incredibly artfully, so that science, art, technology, and life-making all seem continuous in ways they may not appear to us in our lived experience. We explore ways this novel plays with narrative and detective fiction, and the ways that agency seems here to extend out beyond figures that we tend to think of as agential.
Thanks for listening! We'll be back soon with more!
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