Can literature speak for itself? This sentence can evidently be written. And not only this. Posed as a question it may, because in it “literature” “conceives” of “itself” as a subject capable of action and statement, “of course” (i.e. because “language” as a matter of course supplies instruments that think for you, including “the contrary”) be considered a mere claim: literature is capable of speaking for itself.
Literature thinking or speaking for itself is therefore absolutely thinkable. It can claim so, and we likewise, because people accepts it. The personal union within the aforementioned instruments make this possible for it and us. Literature acts like a person, and so, in analogy, do we. “We” are therefore dealing with anthropomorphic processes.
Nothing human is alien to literature. It can speak for itself, but does not have to. It can also speak for others, e.g. for secondary literature or the author. It can also speak for the publisher. It speaks for literature that it not only can speak but can also be silent and read.
Does something that can speak for itself, be silent and read, need to be spoken for? Or, put differently: to what extent would speaking for it, assuming that literature needs it, be a different language from the one literature does not need because it has it, otherwise it would not exist? In my opinion, speaking for it can count on a large public, and more. As for speaking for it, it does not care if literature needs it or not—rather it needs literature in order to be what it is, namely speaking for it.
While literature pretends to be dumber than it is in order to stress its humanity which need not be spoken for, speaking for it is actually very intelligent: it forgives the measliness of its forewords.
So there is probably more at stake. Literature says it without using it. Speaking for it uses “it” by saying “it.” Literature with built-in speaking for it …
(Jalousien aufgemacht, Carl Hanser, 1987)