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Towards a Minor Literature (excerpt)

A minor literature doesn’t come from a minor language; it is rather that which a minority constructs within a major language.

The first characteristic of minor literature is that in it language is affected with a high coefficient of deterritorialization that turns the language into something “impossible”.

The second characteristic of minor literatures is that everything in them is political. In major literatures, in contrast, the individual concern (familial, marital, and so on) joins with other no less individual concerns, the social milieu serving as a mere environment or background. Minor literature is completely different; its cramped space forces each individual intrigue to connect immediately to politics.

The third characteristic of minor literature is that in it everything takes on a collective value. Indeed, precisely because talent isn’t abundant in a minor literature, there are no possibilities for an individuated enunciation that would belong to this or that “master” and that could be separated from a collective enunciation. Indeed, scarcity of talent is in fact beneficial and allows the conception of something other than a literature of masters; what each author says individually already constitutes a common action, and what he or she says or does is necessarily political, even if others aren’t in agreement. The political domain has contaminated every statement. But above all else, literature finds itself positively charged with the role and function of collective, and even revolutionary, enunciation. If the writer is in the margins or completely outside his or her fragile community, this situation allows the writer all the more the possibility to express another possible community and to forge the means for another consciousness and another sensibility.

We might as well say that minor no longer designates specific literatures but the revolutionary conditions for every literature within the heart of what is called great (or established) literature. And for that, finding one’s own point of underdevelopment, one’s own patois, one’s own third world, one’s own desert is necessary.

To make use of the polylingualism of one’s own language, to make a minor or intensive use of it, to oppose the oppressed quality of this language to its oppressive quality, to find points of nonculture or underdevelopment.