34.1 | Odile Heynders

Disensus in Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet

Focusing on the potentially activist influence of contemporary literature, Odile Heynders’ “Dissensus in Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet” asks the question “if (and how) the literary novel can be effective in today’s public spheres” (35). To answer this question, she uses the concept of “dissensus,” as conceived by the French philosopher Jacques Rancière, as a hermeneutic lens to read Ali Smith’s seasonal cycle. This focus on dissensus emphasizes the way Smith’s works invoke conflicting worldviews, rather than reiterating normative ones. As Heynders notes, the effectiveness of literature lies in the confrontation of ideas on which the recipient is invited to reflect.