“Without Hope and Without Despair”

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  • Title: “Without Hope and Without Despair”: Narrative Representation, Anti-Sentimentalism, and the Question of Finance Capitalism in Raymond Carver’s Cathedral
  • Author(s): Dongho Cha
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Literary Humanities
  • Keywords: Raymond Carver, Narrative Representation, Sentimentalism, Finance Capitalism
  • Volume: 15
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2327-7912 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8676 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7912/CGP/v15i04/35-45
  • Citation: Cha, Dongho. 2018. "“Without Hope and Without Despair”: Narrative Representation, Anti-Sentimentalism, and the Question of Finance Capitalism in Raymond Carver’s Cathedral." The International Journal of Literary Humanities 15 (4): 35-45. doi:10.18848/2327-7912/CGP/v15i04/35-45.
  • Extent: 11 pages

Abstract

Whereas most critics interpret Raymond Carver’s stories as being politically motivated, I argue that Carver intended his stories less as politically engaged polemics than as works of art that focus on mediating reality. I wish to show the ways in which stories like “Preservation” and “The Bridle” contribute to a more complete understanding of financialization, as explained by critics like Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin, by thematizing the materiality of writing and how it is in conflict with the narrative function of writing. In other words, rather than understand Carver as working on the level of political attitudes, the article demonstrates how his deep investment in the short story’s status as artwork counterintuitively marks the irrelevance of such political attitudes not just to an anti-capitalist politics, but to our comprehension of the very structure of capitalism itself.