The Secret of the World Remains Hidden: Roberto Bolańo as an Antiliterary Author
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The Chilean author Roberto Bolańo cultivated a contentious (and contradictory) attitude to literature, believing that it conceals the fear and self-interest that coordinates its meaningfulness. For Bolańo, great writers should face the abyss of meaninglessness while standing tall, a directive which prohibits drawing conclusions that might ultimately be elevated to the level of fact. Instead, Bolańo commits to a category of truth that cannot be described by inscribing its contingent effects in his writing through what I will call his ‘antiliterature.’ Acknowledging this inaccessible truth, Bolańo’s writing reveals an aversion to all-encompassing literary forms that can be seen in the same light as Jacques Lacan’s term ‘antiphilosophy,’ describing the French psychoanalyst’s position against philosophy. Just as Lacanian antiphilosophy continues to contribute to twenty-first-century philosophical critiques, Bolańo’s antiliterature renders possible novel literary trajectories. Bolańo’s 2009 novel 2666 exemplifies his antiliterary approach, subverting the literary genre of crime fiction by refusing to supply an object to fulfil the reader’s desire for closure and by universalising guilt.