The Powers of the False

E-book – $45.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-6789-6

Paper Text – $45.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-3004-3
Publication Date
November 2014
Page Count
336 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

The Powers of the False

Reading, Writing, Thinking beyond Truth and Fiction
Doro Wiese

Can literature make it possible to represent histories that are otherwise ineffable? Making use of the Deleuzian concept of “the powers of the false,” Doro Wiese offers readings of three novels that deal with the Shoah, with colonialism, and with racialized identities. She argues that Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated, Richard Flanagan’s Gould’s Book of Fish, and Richard Powers’s The Time of Our Singing are novels in which a space for unvoiced, silent, or silenced difference is created. Seen through the lens of Deleuze and his collaborators’ philosophy, literature is a means for mediating knowledge and affects about historical events. Going beyond any simple dichotomy between true and untrue accounts of what “really” happened in the past, literature’s powers of the false incite readers to long for a narrative space in which painful or shameful stories can be included.
About the Author

Doro Wiese is a lecturer in comparative literature and gender studies at Utrecht University.


"The Powers of the False  is undeniably brilliant, rich in its suggestiveness, fertile in its theoretical apparatus, perspicuous in the readings of the three novels it offers in support of its central Deleuzian hypothesis: namely, that in literary writing in our time, there is utilized a kind “falsity” or “falseness” which, going beyond the distinction between truth and fiction, summon or call up a virtual audience comprised of the descendants of all of those persons and things of the past who have been ignored, oppressed, or simply eliminated (as in the Holocaust) without benefit even of the registration of their existence."--Hayden White