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Jayne Anne Phillips, Lark and Termite: Monetized War, Militarized Money—A Narrative Poetics for the Closing of an American Century

  • Richard GoddenEmail author
Chapter
Part of the New Comparisons in World Literature book series (NCWL)

Abstract

Given that only massive infusions of international credit sustained both the miraculous illusions of the neoliberal turn in America, and the viability of the dollar as a global reserve currency, one may fairly ask: How may a debt factory operate as the world’s bank, or a deficit dollar convince as the world’s money? Short answer, tithe extraction by way of a militarization of US global practices after the Korean War and throughout US engagements in Vietnam, Syria, Afghanistan, and the War on Terror. Accordingly, this chapter seeks to trace a structural conjunction between two sectors of the economy, finance and the military, enhanced by a proliferation of declared and undeclared wars. The latter produce “risk” and “volatility” as tradable matter that the former recasts as profit via derivative investment. Between September 2001 (the falling Towers) and September 2008 (the Crunch), the Bush administration invoked a New Empire and a New American Century (each lasting seven years), resting on unprecedented military expenditure and mortgage backed “securities,” both financed by way of credit from abroad, much of it flowing into a risk driven financial sector.

To find the financier in the G.I.’s wound (the raw material of war) and the G.I. in the financier’s throat is to relocate what the linguist V.N. Volosinov would call “the organizing center of any utterance,” and indeed of “the whole route between inner experience (‘the expressible’) and its outward objectification (‘the utterance’)” within a social territory tacitly conditioned by what Randy Martin described as “derivative wars,” conducted on behalf of “monetary imperialism” (Michael Hudson). This chapter traces the stylistic choices and narrative form of Jayne Anne Phillips’ novel, Lark and Termite (2009) to generative contradictions resting at the structural core of monetized war.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IrvineUSA

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