Viðar Þorsteinsson: Financialization and the Forming of Time in Steinar Bragi’s Women.
The essay studies the novel Konur (e. Women) by Icelandic writer Steinar Bragi, proposing to read its description of protagonist Eva’s violent encounter with pre-crash banking in Iceland not only as social criticism but also as a staging of the formal dynamics of finance capital. In contrast with many Icelandic works of “crash fiction,” Women is argued to contain an unusually rich and nuanced subtext it its themes and symbolism, bringing into play the specific ways in which finance capital achieves its draconic control over the forming of subjectivity and time. While critically engaging with marxist theories of financialization, drawn from both economic and literary sholarship, and Nietzsche’s writings on indebtedness and memory, the essay mobilizes Catherine Malabou’s writings on plasticity to articulate the precise nature of the connection between temporality and form which characterizes modern finance capital. This is a peculiar dialectic between anticipation and deferral, speculation and austerity, which simultaneously captures the apparent abstract and ethereal nature of finance and its close reliance on discipline and violence. Through a close reading of the ways in which forming and moulding, both spatial and temporal, are figured in Women, it is shown how the novel achieves a potent engagement with the peculiar formal dynamics of finance and indebtedness in 21st century capitalism.
Keywords: financialization, Icelandic literature, crash fiction, continental philosophy, marxism