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Combined and Uneven DevelopmentTowards a New Theory of World-Literature$
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Sharae Deckard, Nicholas Lawrence, Neil Lazarus, Graeme Macdonald, Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee, Benita Parry, and Stephen Shapiro

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381892

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381892.001.0001

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Ivan Vladislavic

Ivan Vladislavic

Traversing the Uneven City

(p.143) Chapter Six Ivan Vladislavic
Combined and Uneven Development

WReC (Warwick Research Collective)

Liverpool University Press

This chapter offers a reading of the work of Ivan Vladislavic by way of demonstrating that its specific formal features capture the aura of a particular historical speace (Johannesburg) and time (the era of late or millennial capitalism) that nevertheless allows one to witness and reflect upon a general and global structure of feeling formed over the long duration of modernity’s unfolding. Read alongside incidents of occultism, witchcraft and trade in human organs in contemporary South Africa, Vladislavic's ‘anti-’ or ‘magic-’ realism points to the historical compulsion under which cultural modes operate in conditions of uneven development – the compulsion to fuse disparate idioms, languages, genres, and forms in order to meditate upon ordinary lives caught up in the dark magic of history. Vladislavic's thematic and formal concerns are interpreted as expressions of historical-material contraditions and paradoxes.

Keywords:   Ivan Vladislavic, Johannesburg, Neoliberalism, Post-apartheid South Africa, Afropolitics, Portrait with Keys, Combined unevenness, Realism, Magic realism

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