nordlitt: How to Postcritique I. Delaying Judgment. In Conversation With Rita Felski

von Nordlitt. Skandinavistische Literaturforschung im Gespräch

How does aesthetic experience come about? Rita Felski, University of Virigina, author of The Limits of Critique and Hooked: Art and Attachment guides us through her actor-network-inspired theories and demonstrates how the key concepts of identification, empathy and attachment can illuminate our reading of Hanne Ørstavik’s novel Love. We also look at the pleasures of critique and the exaggeration of its significance, learn about Queer Theory as an inspiration to Postcritique, hear a resonant defence of Hartmut Rosa and get a glimpse of Rita Felski’s new book project. 


(00:00:17) Introducing Rita Felski
(00:00:40) Rita Felski’s Connection to Scandinavia
(00:01:32) How Stefanie Encountered Rita’s Work
(00:02:14) On Uses of Literature
(00:04:20) How to Have Conversations About Literature in a Postcritical Way
(00:10:30) Other Ways of Looking at Literary Texts and Artworks 
(00:13:14) Dichotomy of Subject vs. Object
(00:16:31) Actor-Network-Theory 
(00:22:57) New Aesthetic Experiences
(00:28:47) About the Joy of Reading Theory ODER Attachment to Theory  
(00:35:51) Response to Critique on Rita Felski’s Approach 
(00:44:28) Rita Felski’s Attachment to Hanne Ørstavik’s Kjærlighet
(00:46:18) Description of the Novel
(00:49:15) Identifying the Threat in the Novel
(00:52:26) Different Perspectives in the Novel’s Narration
(00:54:52) Teaching Kjærlighet
(00:57:23) Identification in the Novel
(00:59:40) Student’s Question
(01:03:35) Varieties of Identification
(01:07:01) Identification with the Different Perspectives in Kjærlighet
(01:19:46) Intimacy
(01:22:42) Attunement 
(01:27:57) Attunement and Identification as a Potential Means to Knowledge
(01:33:27) Ironic Identification 
(01:39:19) What Advice Would You Give Your Student-Self?


  • Ørstavik, Hanne: Kjærlighet. Oslo: Forlaget Oktober, 2007.
  • Ørstavik, Hanne: Love. New York: ArchipelagoBooks, 2018.
  • Felski, Rita: „Identification. A Defense” In: Felski, Rita: Hooked: Art and Attachment. Chicago:  Universitiy of Chicago Press, 2020, S. 79-120.
  • Felski, Rita: „Interpreting as Relating” In: Felski, Rita: Hooked: Art and Attachment. Chicago: Universitiy of Chicago Press, 2020, S. 121-163.

Further reading:

Department of Language, Culture, History and Communication at the University of Southern Denmark: “Uses of literature: The social dimensions of literature“ (

  • Bennett, Jane: Influx and Efflux: Writing Up with Walt Whitman. Durham: Duke University Press 2020.
  • Best, Stephen; Sharon Marcus: “Surface Reading: An Introduction”. In: Representations Vol. 108.1 (2009), p. 1—21.
  • Brand, Dionne: Theory. Toronto: Alfred. A. Knopf Canada, 2018.
  • Camus, Albert: The Stranger. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1946.
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor: Notes from the Underground. New York: Open Road Integrated Media, 2014.
  • Felski, Rita: Doing Time. New York: New York University Press, 2000.
  • Felski, Rita: Uses of Literature. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.
  • Felski, Rita: The Limits of Critique. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.
  • Hoffman, Eva: Lost in Translation. New York: Penguin Books, 1989.
  • Ishiguro, Kazuo: The Uncontrolled. London: Faber & Faber, 1995.
  • Latour, Bruno: We Have Never Been Modern. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993.
  • Latour, Bruno: Reassembling the Social. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Love, Heather: Underdogs: Social Deviance and Queer Theory. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2021.
  • Rosa, Hartmut: Resonance: A Sociology of our Relationship to the World. Cambridge: Polity, 2019.
  • Rosa, Hartmut: Resonanz: Eine Soziologie der Weltbeziehung. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2016.
  • Rorty, Richard: Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
  • Sartre, Jean-Paul: Nausea. New York: New Directions, 1949.
  • Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky: “Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading, or, You’re So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Essay Is About You”. In: Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky; Michèle Tina Barale, Jonathan Goldberg; Michael Moon: Touching Feeling. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003, p. 123–151. 
  • Williams, John: Stoner. New York: The Viking Press, 1965.Williams, Raymond: The CoLong Revolution. London: Chatto & Windus, 1961.