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The Contemporary American Novel in Context


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Table of Contents

Series Editors' Preface; Part 1 Contexts; 1. 'Who Are We?': social and cultural contexts of the contemporary American novel; 2. 'Why Bother?': literary and intellectual contexts of the contemporary American novel; Review, reading and research; Part 2 Texts; 3. Consuming Fictions: American Psycho (1991), Fight Club (1996); 4. Between Black and White: Beloved (1987), The Human Stain (2000); 5. The Contemporary Americas Novel: Blood Meridian (1985), Almanac of the Dead (1991), The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007); 6. Global Narratives: Underworld (1997), Pattern Recognition (2003); Review, reading and research; Part 3 Wider Contexts; 7. Afterlives and adaptations: the contemporary American novel on film, video and the web; 8. Critical contexts: approaches to the contemporary American novel; Review, reading and research; Bibliography and sources; Index.

About the Author

Brian Jarvis is Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Film at Loughborough University, UK. He is the author of Postmodern Cartographies: The Geographical Imagination in Contemporary American Culture (Pluto, 1998) and Cruel and Unusual: A Cultural History of Punishment in America (Pluto, 2004) and of essays on topics including 'dirty realism', Vietnam War fiction, the literature and cinema of 9/11, and contemporary horror film. Paul Jenner is Lecturer in American Studies at Loughborough University, UK. He is currently working on a full-length study of the American philosopher Stanley Cavell, and his other research interests include American noir fiction, and theories and fictions of postmodernity. Andrew Dix is Lecturer in American Studies at Loughborough University, UK. He is the author of Beginning Film Studies (Manchester University Press, 2008) and co-editor of Figures of Heresy: Radical Theology in English and American Writing, 1800-2000 (Sussex Academic Press, 2006); his other published work includes book chapters on Mark Twain, John Steinbeck and Native American fiction.


'The concluding argument of Dix, Jarvis and Jenner's fine book is "that to engage keenly with current American fiction is not a dry-as-dust academic exercise but itself an act charged with political significance." The authors make their case well, presenting strong and well-judged readings of nine recent American novels, indicating their representative function in terms of consumer capitalism, race, hemispheric transnationalism and globalisation. If this sounds disconcertingly abstract, this book is far from that, giving an immensely readable, bang up-to-date and skilled introduction to the American novel at this point in our history, and the reasons for its continued vitality and importance. Aimed at a student audience, it will bring the subject alive for them, but will also offer many stimulating insights to any scholar or general reader interested in this topic. The book takes a complicated and contentious field and charts a way through it with authority and verve: a real achievement.'--Sanford Lakoff

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