Allegory and the Critique of Sovereignty: Ismail Kadare’s Political Theologies

Studies in the Novel 44 (2): 208-230, Summer 2012

23 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2012 Last revised: 4 Mar 2013

Rebecca Gould

Professor, Islamic World and Comparative Literature, University of Birmingham; Harvard University - Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Traversing antiquity to modernity, the political allegories of the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare (b. 1936) offer sustained critiques of state sovereignty. Drawing on a Weberian anthropology of sovereignty, this essay examines Kadare’s allegories as examples of what René Girard referred to as “persecution texts”. Simultaneously implicated within the scapegoat matrix and distancing themselves from its ethics of reciprocity, Kadare’s narratives navigate the Communist experience in terms others have used to describe colonialism. At their most powerful, they demonstrate how allegory can critique sovereignty and how invented pasts transform political presents. Kadare’s novels expose the permeable boundaries of geopolitical alignments and reveal kinships between the Communist experience and the postcolonial condition.

Keywords: sacrifice, scapegoat, allegory, socialism, political theology, power, sovereignty, post-Soviet, postcolonial, third-world, Albanian

Suggested Citation

Gould, Rebecca Ruth, Allegory and the Critique of Sovereignty: Ismail Kadare’s Political Theologies (2012). Studies in the Novel 44 (2): 208-230, Summer 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2085242

Rebecca Ruth Gould (Contact Author)

Professor, Islamic World and Comparative Literature, University of Birmingham ( email )

College of Arts and Law
Birmingham, UK, Birmingham B15 2TT
United Kingdom
https://rrgould.hcommons.org/ (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/rebeccagould

Harvard University - Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies ( email )

1730 Cambridge Street, 3rd Floor
Cambridge, 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://daviscenter.fas.harvard.edu/about-us/people/rebecca-gould

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