Engagement for Engagement’s Sake

An Ontological Rethinking of the Politics of Literature


  • Aukje van Rooden




Literature, Ontology, Politics, Politics of Literature, Engagement, Millennial generation


The aim of this paper is to search for a new, contemporary, form of literary engagement by avoiding a return to the 20th century idea of literary engagement that presents literature either as autonomous and un-political or as explicitly committed to some political cause. Taking the Dutch poet laurate Lieke Marsman's debut novel Het tegenovergestelde van een mens (The opposite of a human being) as an exemplary case study, this paper stresses that the literature of the millennial generation explores a new and different form of engagement, a form that is consonant with our 21st century living conditions, that are more complex, fluid, and volatile than they have ever been.


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