American Fiction in Transition: Observer-Hero Narrative, the by Adam Kelly PDF

By Adam Kelly

American Fiction in Transition is a research of the observer-hero narrative, a hugely major yet severely missed style of the yank novel. throughout the lens of this transitional style, the e-book explores the Nineteen Nineties in terms of debates in regards to the finish of postmodernism, and connects the last decade to different transitional classes in US literature. Novels through 4 significant modern writers are tested: Philip Roth, Paul Auster, E. L. Doctorow and Jeffrey Eugenides. each one novel has the same constitution: an observer-narrator tells the tale of a huge individual in his lifestyles who has died. yet each one tale is both in regards to the fight to inform the tale, to discover sufficient skill to relate the transitional caliber of the hero's existence. In enjoying out this narrative fight, every one novel thereby addresses the wider challenge of historic transition, an issue that marks the legacy of the postmodern period in American literature and tradition

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Additional info for American Fiction in Transition: Observer-Hero Narrative, the 1990s, and Postmodernism

Sample text

Abraham can neither speak nor commiserate, neither weep nor wail” (74); “Whereas the tragic hero is great, admired, and legendary from generation to generation, Abraham, in remaining faithful to his singular love for the wholly other, is never considered a hero. He doesn’t make us shed tears and doesn’t inspire admiration” (79). Yet there is a deceptive inconsistency to Derrida’s formulations here: if, as he maintains throughout this text, we are all Abrahams, forever engaged in impossible decisions that cannot find justification in ethical generality, then there should be no place for the tragic hero in Derrida’s schema.

128–9) What does a debate at this level of theoretical abstraction mean for our conception of literary narrative? My main suggestion in American Fiction in Transition is that the observer-hero structure of 1990s novels, and the oscillation between various conceptions of decision and transition that they stage, figure in illuminating ways many of the paradoxes, “difficult to integrate into a classical philosophical discourse,” that 30 American Fiction in Transition Derrida refers to in the above quotation.

This climate is “unified by a particular view of reality,” a reality in which the human being is at the center, and, in Sartrean terms, the existence of things is understood to precede their essence (4). This widespread view of reality in turn provides the contemporary “language game” in which the American novelist writes, a language game that “constitutes the perceptual patterns according to which our novelists grant priority to issues” (8). Published in 1970, The Open Decision is—like the work of Bruffee and Buell—a late document of the pre-“theory” age.

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American Fiction in Transition: Observer-Hero Narrative, the 1990s, and Postmodernism by Adam Kelly


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