My change of heart, of thought, came gradually, even reluctantly. It was the product of a long evolution, one that occurred incrementally and unevenly over the years I spent as an advocate in the immigration debate who came increasingly to doubt and now, finally, to disown his own case and cause. The conversion is also the result of the consumption of many books and monographs on many aspects of the issue, as well as my own reflections on the innumerable and often interminable coalition meetings and conferences I attended on the subject.
Simpson, Monica Lewinsky, the dot. The culture wars of the previous decade, with all the familiar charges of vandalism to the canon and theory-driven destruction of the mission of the humanities, continued on various fronts, while a number of critics and novelists made lugubrious noises about the death of the novel.
Arguably, the novel has received such notices from the outset, and certainly in the twentieth century apocalyptic pronouncements have often signaled the introduction of one aesthetic revolution or another—the old novel died, so that the new novel might live.
But the prophecies of the s had a darker cast. Now the novel is dying because literature in general is in terminal decline. Already reading, particularly the kind of concentrated, thoughtful reading that literature demands, is on the wane, undermined by a culture of distraction—TV, movies, videogames, the Internet.
Furthermore, the extraordinary success of the printed book, from Gutenberg to airport paperbacks, might finally have reached its limits, as digital technology proves a more efficient and capacious means of storing information. Or so the prophets claimed.
My reaction to this rhetoric was mixed. The anguish seemed pointedly to ignore the diversity and richness of contemporary fiction, which presented the best evidence that the novel is in fact thriving.
Admittedly, the old labels—realism, experimentalism, multiculturalism—are now less useful than ever, but the s saw the emergence of a generation of novelists who took their postmodern inheritance in new directions.
However, the literary world in which these writers have launched their careers has undoubtedly been affected by changes in the consumption and dissemination of cultural goods. The network of journals, popular and academic reviews, publishing houses, and even bookstores, along with sustaining ideas about the value and importance of literature, have changed, often in ways that have been deleterious for innovative writing.
To make sense of fiction in the last years of the twentieth century—and the first years of the twenty-first—entails coming to terms with these altered cultural conditions, the challenges and opportunities they present, while also attending to the distinctive newness of the writing at issue.
I have tried in this work to follow a piece of advice once given me by the late Tony Tanner: This book has grown from an attempt to understand what contemporary literature, particularly postmodern fiction, means at the millennium.
It has also been provoked by enthusiasm for the writers I address—which should go without saying, but in these postliterary times, in the academy at least, perhaps does not.
During the writing of this book, I have received help and support from several people, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them.
Several of the chapters began life as conference presentations, and I profited greatly from questions and comments that followed, often addressed to me by people whose names I never caught.
However, I would like to single out Jackie Zubeck, who organized the first conference devoted to Don DeLillo; her hard work provided an exceptionally valuable occasion for intellectual exchange. A longer version of the paper I delivered there was subsequently published in Modern Fiction Studies; somewhat modified, it now appears as chapter 5.
Anna Brickhouse, Jill Heydt-Stevenson, and Valerie Forman, astute readers all, gave me invaluable help with chapter 3. My greatest debt, however, is to Charlotte Sussman, who offered essential feedback and unstinting support; her faith in the project never wavered.
I dedicate the book to her. After all, postmodernism is by definition a term of belatedness:for postmodernism is the institutionalisation of the avant‐garde.
“in which splinters of a messianic presence are enmeshed”5) was sacrificed in the cause of a new historicism. is and in to a was not you i of it the be he his but for are this that by on at they with which she or from had we will have an what been one if would who has her. Abstract. Pursuing the congruency between his preoccupation with portrayals of modulating sexuality on one hand, and hybridising of literary and genre fiction on the other, this article elucidates a speculative point of contact between Michael Chabon’s work and contemporary queer thought on temporality.
The Day of the Locust shares these concerns, but its immersion in popular culture veers the texts toward postmodernism. One quick example you could share with your students of the pop-culture sensibility of the text would be in the name of the theater where the climactic mob scene appears: Mr.
Kahn's Pleasure Dome. In her essay “Historical Integrity, Interpretive Freedom: The Philosopher’s Paul and the Problem of Anachronism” (61), which begins the second section of the book, she emphasizes that the historical context must remain a priority where historical interpretation, rather than philosophical interpretation, is concerned.
Anachronism and Powerlessness: An Essay on Postmodernism In Plato’s Theaetetus, we find thinking defined by means of an interior monologue (ea), that is, by means of a kind of auto-affection.