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Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

Front Liter Stud Chin    2013, Vol. 7 Issue (4) : 654-671
research-article |
Fredric Jameson’s “Third-World Literature” and “National Allegory”: A Defense
Qin Wang()
Department of Comparative Literature, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA
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A controversial concept in reading “third-world literature,” Fredric Jameson’s “national allegory” has more often been refuted or approvingly appropriated than properly understood. Taking the “national allegory” as a convenient theoretical category describing the content of “third-world literature” misses Jameson’s underlying problematic, i.e. his concern about “third-world literature” as an immanent deconstructive force leading to the breaking down of chains of signification of capitalist culture. Insofar as the functional concept of the “national allegory” is concerned, one must read “nation” not as a term designating a substantial entity, but as an “allegory” in itself. To read “third-world literature” through the lens of a “national allegory” thus means to deterritorialize the third world from its substantial determinants in terms of traditional geo-politics. Rather, “third-world literature” in its deconstructive force is toward what Jean-Luc Nancy calls “the inoperative community.”

Corresponding Authors: Qin Wang,   
Issue Date: 05 December 2013
 Cite this article:   
Qin Wang. Fredric Jameson’s “Third-World Literature” and “National Allegory”: A Defense[J]. Front Liter Stud Chin, 2013, 7(4): 654-671.
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