Politics and Literature
My argument in this chapter is that fiction enlightens us about political reality. In a world in which millions are fed misinformation on social media, and media-savvy politicians turn into demigods, I claim, literature, at least some of it, serves as a reminder of the real, the true, and the factual. To support this argument, I analyse three literary works on the three questions that have preoccupied political philosophy ever since: who governs, on what normative base, and where society is heading. I discuss Elsa Morante’s novel History, José Saramago’s novel Blindness, and Franz Kafka’s short story “The Metamorphosis” to demonstrate the challenges posed by these powerful tales to common myths prevailing in the contemporary public sphere about these questions.