Whatever Singularity in de Bernières’ Captain Corelli’s MandolinYasemin Karaağaç
This paper explores Louis de Bernières’ novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin from the perspective of Giorgio Agamben’s concept of “whatever singularity”, the main theme of his The Coming Community. Agamben’s work provides a clear distinction from homogenized communities and nations to argue for the possibility of how groups and peoples living together without reducing their distinct individual and cultural identities to sameness. Besides, whatever singularities border ‘in-between’ spaces and thresholds and that is the space where friendship emerges from. In this context, the article aims to apply Agamben’s essay ‘The Friend’ to explore the concept of friendship. The novel is set mainly during the Italian and Nazi occupations of the Greek island of Cephalonia in World War II. Although occupying forces aim to constitute a fixed society, intercommunal friendship emerges between different nations. In this regard, the love between the Italian soldier Captain Corelli and the local girl Pelagia, as well as the friendship among Dr. Iannis, Captain Corelli, and Carlo Piero Guercio will be examined in terms of friendship and ‘whatever singularity’. Moreover, the friendship between ‘The Good Nazi’ Günter Weber, who is forced to shoot his Italian friends, and Captain Corelli will be investigated through the concept of friendship. In the narrative, the Communist Greek resistance group ELAS, a destructive occupying force, tries to form a fixed homogenous ideological group on the island bearing similarities with fascist and Nazi groups. Therefore, this will also be discussed in the context of the tension between heterogeneous and homogenous communities.