DFG Research Training Group Globalization and Literature. Representations, Transformations,  Interventions

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Pierre-Héli Monot

Dr. Pierre-Héli Monot



Pierre-Héli Monot was Postdoc at the Research Training Group from 2016 to 2019.

Abstract of the Research Project

One Hundred Years of Tenderness: The Hidden Transcripts of Global Modernity

My project for a second book, One Hundred Years of Tenderness: The Hidden Transcripts of Global Modernity, discusses the construction of "legitimate kindness" in agonistic and antagonistic discourse. This project focuses on the post-Darwinian and Kropotkinian hypothesis of a "Survival of the Kindest" and its reappearance as a literary device from early realism onwards. The primary sources will include Leo Strauss’s studies of Platonic esotericism, Émile Zola’s Au Bonheur des Dames, Czesław Miłosz’s The Captive Mind, Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz, Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s Mort à Crédit, Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin, and Wendell Berry’s Agrarian Essays. This study traces the rise and fall of kindness narratives in either totalitarian, globalized, or communal political imaginaries, and explores how kindness and tenderness are plotted through novelistic structures that are otherwise formally committed to conflict or agon.
I argue that the emergence of "readability" as a sociopolitical category from 1850 onwards triggered off a counter-reaction in literature from European realism onwards. The rise of state-enforced legibility led many of those realists and modernists who were canonized by the mid-20th century to implement zones or layers of non-discursive opacity in their works that, in turn, allowed for a critique of state power, instrumental reason, and early anthropometric and deterministic discourses. My study is structured chronologically and retraces the progressive globalization and current deglobalization of this literary counter-reaction.

Short CV

Since October 2016 Postdoc at the Research Training Group

2016: Junior Member of the Academy of Science and Literature, Mainz

2015-2016: Assistant Professor, Georg-August-University Göttingen

2014: Fulbright Scholar, San Francisco State University

2014: PhD, Humboldt University of Berlin
Dissertation title: Man as a Method: General Hermeneutics and Partial Democracy (Friedrich Schleiermacher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass)

2012-2013: Visiting Fellow, Harvard University

2009: Visiting Scholar, Brown University

2009: Dissertation Scholarship from the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes)

2008: M.A., American and English Literature, Modern and Contemporary History, Humboldt University of Berlin