All literary texts are both political and aesthetic. Words in and of themselves are innately sensual, inseparable from the emotions they evoke in a reader. They are also political, pieces of language steeped in history and theory. However, writers often plan toward one extreme, selecting their words either for contextual or libidinal value. Beyond a doubt, most first-world authors embrace the aesthetic foremost; in the West, reading has become an activity of leisure, performed for pleasure, not for knowledge. The beauty of these works is literally derived from their otherwise purposeless existence, a feature of aesthetic judgment that Immanuel Kant calls final without end (69). But this does not mean that the opposite is true of third-world texts: while the written word still has the power to give birth to revolution in these regions, non-Western authors are still concerned with the aesthetic value of literature. Nor do all first-world texts exist separate from the political world. It is only Western bias that leads individuals such as Fredric Jameson to believe that libidinal texts are solely a product of industrialized nations. Aesthetic techniques, the affects of wordplay and structure, do not ensure an aesthetically-pleasing text. There must be a relationship between form and context. As Christian Wiman states, form itself has no inherent political meaning, but that [does not] mean that a [writer's] treatment of the form [cannot] give it a political meaning (212). If form itself can be given into a role within the realm of politics, then surely politics can become a thing of beauty. When aesthetics are manipulated into vehicles for the political message of the text, only then can those aesthetics be considered beautiful. Third-world writers, regardless of first-world opinion, write with both libidinal and political intentions, for they understand that aesthetic value depends on the innate harmony between context and form.
[...] The novel is incomplete when stripped of its native language, for the unity between context and form is impossible when that form is no longer representative of the original intentions. The author, in a sense, is no longer Nawal el Saadawi, but a secondary voice in the guise of a translator, possibly neutral, but possibly working within his or her own agenda. Any translation is, therefore, ambiguous in intention, especially when that intention is inseparable from language. In first-world writing, authors may claim that word choice is important, that every word they use matters and could not be replaced with any other word. [...]
[...] But the everyday living conditions of South Africa, Western in many aspects and actually entwined in Western politics, created a context dependant on a form that also exhibited Western tendencies. The success of her political message depended on it stretching beyond the borders of South Africa, and her language too needed this tremendous reach. Regardless of Western bias, Wicomb's writing is more aesthetically pleasing not because of these Western influences, but because her politics require more Western-appealing language to connect to her broader audience. [...]
[...] The connection between writer and reader is of the utmost importance because that connection forms the basis of the channel through which the political message travels, and that connection is established through context and form. Saadawi states that a “piece of poetry can make a revolution,” but there would be no revolution if that piece of poetry were never read (Interview). Therefore, it is more correct to say that revolution lies in the reader, not the writer. By any means necessary, the author must make a connection. [...]
[...] The raw honesty and desperation of third-world literature to connect to its readers is an idea lost in Western literature, for the West has become a place of commodities, a place where writing is no longer an end in itself. Kant believed the definition of aesthetic pleasure to be pleasure derived from art otherwise purposeless save for the purpose of existing aesthetically. There may still be political drives behind first-world texts, but for the most part they function according to this Kantian model, perpetuating this false definition of aesthetics. [...]
[...] The aesthetic value of third-world writing is contained in the very minimalist style that first-world readers find crude and boring. What is interpreted as lack of talent on the behalf of these authors is merely talent of a foreign kind, better akin to a world in which politics are main-textual rather than sub-textual. A poet would do well not to force a modern monologue into Victorian language or archaic constraints; similarly, an idea needs not be complicated unless that complication is necessary to preserve the relationship between form and context. [...]
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