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Powers of PossibilityExperimental American Writing since the 1960s$
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Alex Houen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199609291

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199609291.001.0001

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Potentialism and Practical Imagination

(p.241) Conclusion
Powers of Possibility

Alex Houen

Oxford University Press

Each of the potentialisms outlined in the book's chapters are largely aimed at producing a performativity of affect. That performativity is intended to build what we can call ‘practical imagination’. The Conclusion begins by detailing how potentialism, as a novel concept of literary practice, sheds new light on literary affect, literary performativity, and how they relate. Returning to the notion of individual capacities as potentials (see Introduction), discussion then turns to how practical imagination can build and modify a person's capacities to affect, and be affected by, language, people, and situations. Consideration is given to how the concept of potentialism does not designate a previously undiscovered literary movement. The Conclusion closes by outlining limitations in ascribing potentialism to literary texts in other periods.

Keywords:   affects, performativity, potentiality, power, possible worlds, genre, suspension, capacities, avant‐garde

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