The conclusion begins with a brief reading of the way Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 novel Never Let Me Go takes up art's instrumental applications. It then turns to defining aesthetic autonomy in a way that is attuned to our contemporary moment. It argues in favor of wavering between hesitantly celebrating the potential of autonomous art and indicating all of the ways that exact celebration has been useful to neoliberalism. What might seem at first glance like a split, dividing literature as incipient critique from literature as marketable, palatable critique-lite, is in fact an essential and united feature of our literary world. Writers such as Ishiguro tend now not just to position themselves as critics but to use their work to explore the barriers to effective critique – not least, the incorporation of critique into neoliberal capitalization.
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