D. H. Lawrence once stated that it is hard to hear a new voice, as hard as it is to listen to an unknown language. It is precisely around this analogy that Lawrence’s claim becomes political. What is it that makes the spoken word unintelligible? It is not simply a matter of speaking in a language unknown to others. Rather, the problem lies in not being understood or heard despite shared language. Deleuze’s notion of minor literature becomes the aegis for such thinking. Posited as a practice of politics, minor literature seeks the conditions of possibility of becoming a nomad in relation to one’s own language. This nomadic relation to the major language marks the beginnings of American literature as Lawrence conceives it. His rigorous reading of earlier American literature is based on the notion of a radical departure of a people from an established order. Lawrence regards this departure as an escape from the authority of Europe. For Deleuze, this line of flight inherent in American literature initiates a process of experimentation.
This panel asks: What made American Literature a center of attention for Deleuze? How can this radically altered concept of “minor” be read in contemporary American literature? What enables the condition of possibility of a collective enunciation in American literature? How does writing appear as a revolutionary practice within both early and contemporary American literature? What is the status of “It” in both Lawrence and Deleuze’s writings? And where do we situate infinitive-becomings, which are subject-less and yet designate the “It” of the event in literature?
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