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
Date Written: 2012
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
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