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ʻWhere danger is, there rescue growsʼ: Technology, Time, and Dromology in Tom McCarthy’s C.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2017 (English)In: C21 Literature: Journal of 21st-century writings, E-ISSN 2045-5224, Vol. 5, no 3Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

On one level, Tom McCarthy’s C comes out as a postmodern intertextual patchwork that borrows the form of the Bildungsroman. Accordingly, the protagonist Serge travels from birth to death in a forthrightly chronological narrative, but that journey is accompanied by the fact that the text’s modernist historical context is partly embedded in a posthuman and postmodern ontology. Technologically speaking, this version of modernity displays itself as technē, both in terms of artistic creation and as technology innovation (the radio transmitter, the car, the aeroplane, the cinema). Moreover, the novel equates technology with dromology (from Gr. dromos: race course) dealing with increasing speed as economic and political advantage, but it also reveals its human downside in terms of disaster (war, car crash, aeroplane crash). Through the protagonist, C forwards technology as death drive and the human as always already being ahuman (technē as primordial attribute of bios). In terms of time, the narrative seemingly incarnates the occidental obsession with teleology and eschatology. This article goes through these dimensions, but in addition it contends that there is another level at work in the narrative. Considered as artistically rendered philosophical cognition, the novel puts forth the Stoic apathea (equanimity), Husserlian flux, and anachronistic temporality as giving way to a peculiar kind of faith. This is closely tied to the artistic creativity of technē, including the activity of writing, which rescues a form of transcendence from conventional postmodern elimination. Dominant discourses of technology and time—apocalyptic and utopian—are challenged in this reading.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 5, no 3
Keywords [en]
technē, telos, eschatos, stoicism, Husserl, flux
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
English
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149711DOI: 10.16995/c21.26OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-149711DiVA, id: diva2:1164166
Available from: 2017-12-10 Created: 2017-12-10 Last updated: 2018-01-08Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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