Strange Correspondences: Late Capitalism and Late Style in the Work of Wilson Harris and John Berger


  • Michael Niblett University of Warwick


Wilson Harris, John Berger, late style, late capitalism, neoliberalism


This article compares the late work of Guyanese author Wilson Harris with that of the English writer and critic John Berger. Taking Theodor Adorno’s reflections on late style as its point of departure, it situates the unconventional aesthetics of both writers in relation to the changes in society and experience unleashed by late capitalism. Focusing on Harris’s The Ghost of Memory (2006) and Berger’s From A to X (2008), the essay argues that the formal logic of these novels registers the pressures generated in the era of late capitalism by the unfolding dynamics of the neoliberal regime of accumulation and the fallout from the increasing financialization of the world-economy since the 1970s. Both texts work to protest the radical simplification of human and extra-human nature central to finance capital’s drive to transform all of reality into generic income streams. Sharing an emphasis on the need to revitalize the sensorium and to overcome the Cartesian separation of mind and body, society and nature, Harris and Berger maintain the possibility of an alternative mapping of global community.

Author Biography

Michael Niblett, University of Warwick

Michael Niblett is Assistant Professor in Modern World Literature at the University of Warwick. He is the author of The Caribbean Novel since 1945 (2012) and co-editor of Perspectives on the ‘Other America’: Comparative Approaches to Caribbean and Latin American Culture (2009). A new co-edited collection, The Caribbean: Aesthetics, World-Ecology, Politics, is forthcoming with Liverpool University Press.