The politics of literature: Indexicality, circulation, and decoloniality

By: Simon Levesque


Volume: 09
Issue: 02:Winter 2023
ISSN: 2459-2943
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2023.0020
Pages: 83-104
Lic.: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Politics of literature
Eliseo Verοn
J.M.G. Le Clézio



The article proposes a method for literary analysis that is located at the intersection of Eliseo Verón’s semiotics of circulation and the politics of literature in the wake of Jacques Rancière and Jean-François Hamel. This method takes into account the historical material conditions of textual production, as well as the historical material conditions of recognition in which interpretation occurs, thus overcoming the limits inherent to the immanentism of sociocriticism. It allows for both greater objectivity and reflexivity in analyzing signifying materialities or signs. Drawing on Wittgenstein, Verón, Peirce, and Bakhtin, the value and pertinence of the politics of literature is defended by emphasizing the importance of four main concepts: grammar, circulation, indexicality, and expressiveness. An analysis of Haï (1971) by J.M.G. Le Clézio illustrates the method, arguing in favor of the possible and desirable intertwinement of the politics of literature and decoloniality. Three main concepts stemming from decolonial studies are discussed in this context: codigophagy, colonial semiosis, and border thinking.


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