Seeing and Saying: Towards an Ethics of Truth in José Saramago’s Ensaio sobre a Lucidez


If the aesthetic resistance to torture can leave the practice unscathed, then, what would it look like for a work of art to destabilize the act of torture, beyond simply naming it as wrong? In what way can literary language interrupt the seemingly necessary link between torture and truth, in the very place in which other discourses fall short? In what way can we begin to think about a logic of truth—an ethic of truth—that would destabilize the conceptualization and practice of torture and interrogation? Finally, how does “theory” (literary criticism, philosophy) enable us to ask these questions?

In order to address these preoccupations, I would like to turn to José Saramago’s 2004 novel Ensaio sobre a Lucidez (translated as Seeing), a sequel to…

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