Modernity at Sea: Melville, Marx, Conrad in Crisis

By Cesare Casarino | Go to book overview

THREE
White Capital; or,
Heterotopologies of the Limit

Pars destruens! Beyond the Last Limit

The experience of our generation: that capitalism will not die a natural death.

Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project

ONE DOES NOT KNOW of the existence of an ontology of writing. If it were to exist, it would have to be eminently concerned with that peculiar writing apparatus whose motor is the first gentle breezes of history heralding the future tempest of crisis. There exists a writing of crisis: a writing dictated by the prescience of crisis, with its laws, its desires, its sudden flashes of apodictic vision. It is the concept of such a form of writing, in which history is sensed and lived as a rush, that the present pages wish to produce.

It is of crisis that Karl Marx repeatedly wrote from London for the columns of the New York Daily Tribune throughout the 1850s—of an impending crisis, which would yet again and yet more pointedly expose and denounce the bourgeois conception of crisis as something exterior to capital.1 This coming crisis, in fact, would come into being more clearly than ever before as an immanence to capital, as the explosive product and temporary resolution of the contradictions inherent in the nascent and rapidly expanding mode of production of industrial capitalism—thus

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