The Event

Literature and Theory

Ilai Rowner
Rowner, Ilai

University of Nebraska (publisher)

What is an event? From a philosophical perspective, events are irregular occurrences—moments of change and interruption—categorized by human perception, language, and thought. While philosophers have pored over the subject of events extensively in recent years, The Event: Literature and Theory seeks to ground it: What is literature’s approach to the event? How does literature produce and give testimony to events?  Ilai Rowner’s study not only revisits some of the most important thinkers of our time, including Maurice Blanchot, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, and Martin Heidegger, it also develops a critical approach to literature that questions the meaning of the literary event through examinations of literary works by Marcel Proust, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, and T. S. Eliot.  Rowner offers a new method of thinking about the particular characteristics of the event within literary works and defines the creative value of literature as the aspiration toward the un-happening within the happening. In this study the experience of literature—as an act of both writing and reading—becomes the struggle to capture the excessive movement of the event while also revealing the creative energy within that work of literature.  

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