On the Literary Means of Representing the Powerful as Powerless

Steven Zultanski

On the Literary Means of Representing the Powerful as Powerless is an essay-poem about the ability of literature to pull the rug out from under the appearance of authority. Presented as a non-exhaustive catalogue of techniques for depicting the inherent weakness of power, it continually strays into critical commentary, sinuous digression, and bodily autobiography.

Authors and filmmakers discussed include: Gabriel García Márquez, John Cassavetes, Krishna Baldev Vaid, Jane Austen, Sam Greenlee, Émile Zola, and Patricia Highsmith.

‘Literary Means is a brilliant treatise on power and the uses of literature. It is nicely reasoned and Steven Zultanski doesn’t so much risk the obvious as aspire to it, as the Latin poets did […] Literary Means is also an autobiography, and surely it is the tenderest analysis of a brutal subject.’ — Robert Glück

‘… Zultanski’s author undermines himself in both poignant and darkly comedic ways […] he claims to have written the book in one day, with examples culled from memory! […] He resists turning himself into an authority on authorities as represented in literature, and that’s this book’s poetry.’ — Mónica de la Torre

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