chapter  3
Uncles and Nephews: Menippean Satire in the Capital of Modernity
Pages 16

One of the commonplaces of contemporary literary scholarship can arguably be articulated as “literature as not only a product but also a producer of X,” where X depends on the field’s turn: affects in the so-called affective turn in literary studies, ethics in the ethical turn, or, say, space in the spatial turn. “Literature as both object and subject,” then; “not only object, but also subject,” “subject as well as object.” The problems of this form are perhaps most evident in the case of “literature as not only a product but also a producer of space,” not simply because its second half, “literature as a producer of space,” invites vulgar idealism, but also because this half retroactively reifies the first half, “literature as a product of space,” which in turn resembles vulgar materialism. The conjunction of these two kinds of reductionism is then an abstraction, a dead end-out of which there are, however, two ways: dialectical idealism as well as dialectical materialism. Both Kantian and Marxian dialectics can offer a parallax view, to use a concept through which Kojin Karatani thinks Kant and Marx (see Karatani 2003), on “literature as a product and a producer of space”; they can posit that which is disavowed by both halves of the formulation: the third element, the social mediation of both space and literature.