Ultimately, the Polity of Literature is a proposition made to readers and writers—what if literature is this? What if to read or write literature is to enter a polity of equals, readers and writers alike possessed of the same authority to make meanings? What would follow from that? You might take to it heroically, like Robin Hood or a poacher in the royal woods (PoL #22, “Reading as Poaching“), or you might feel yourself subsumed into a powerful system of Brownian motions (PoL #23, “Fan Fiction is what a Polity of Literature Looks Like“). Whatever transformation comes, it will be personal: you dear reader, and you dear writer, constitute this polity, or not.
Anna Poletti, avid reader and writer, literary scholar, and author of Intimate Ephemera: Reading Young Lives in Australian Zine Culture and Stories of the Self: Life Writing After the Book, answers the PoL proposition with six searching theses unpacking the implications of these claims. Poletti looks for the polity in its material, embodied forms—asking what and where is the Polity of Literature, and how does my body figure in it, or feel about it? What trouble comes if literature is this, and reading and writing literature bring us into the contentious plurality of politics? This piece is illustrated by Ken Krimstein.
1 March, 2022