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Global Capitalism in Post-millennial North American Fiction
If it is indeed impossible to think beyond capitalism, then capital has become reality. If global capitalism organizes reality through the stories it weaves, capital is (as strong as) its fictions. If capital is reality and capital is fiction, then reality as such is fiction as well. It is by reading this fiction for both patterns and inconsistencies that contemporary individuals can challenge global capital and unveil its hypocrisies; and it is by fighting fiction with fiction, i.e. projecting new realities – such as those in the post-millennial novels by William Gibson, Douglas Coupland, and Dave Eggers – that people can imagine the world anew.
This study explores the representation of disability in three of the most well-known novels of the twentieth century, D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928), Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1926), and William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (1929). By signifying cultural demise and a loss of masculinity, white male disability in the literature of the 1920s represents a fear of a foundering patriarchal, white supremacist world order. However, if we take seriously what queer and disability studies have advanced, disabled bodies in literature can also help us redefine life and love in the modern era: forcing us to imagine possibilities outside of our comfort zones, they help us reimagine the elusive myth of independent, self-sufficient human existence.
In these innovative essays on poetry and capitalism, collected over the last fifteen years, Christopher Nealon shines a light on the upsurge of anticapitalist poetry since the turn of the century, and develops fresh ways of thinking about how capitalist society shapes the reading and the writing of all poetry, whatever its political orientation. Breaking from half a century of postmodernist readings of poetry, and bypassing the false divide between formalist and historicist criticism, these essays chart a path toward a new Marxist poetics.
In the aftermath of New Historicism and Cultural Materialism, the field of Shakespeare Studies has been increasingly overrun by post-theoretical, phenomenological claims. Many of the critical tendencies that hold the field today—post-humanism, speculative realism, ecocriticism, historical phenomenology, new materialism, performance studies, animal studies, affect studies—are consciously or unwittingly informed by phenomenological assumptions. This book aims at uncovering and examining these claims, not only to assess their philosophical congruency but also to determine their hermeneutic relevance when applied to Shakespeare. More specifically, Unphenomenal Shakespeare deploys resources of speculative critique to resist the moralistic and aestheticist phenomenalization of the Shakespeare playtexts across a variety of schools and scholars, a tendency best epitomized in Bruce Smith’s Phenomenal Shakespeare (2010).
This book investigates literary representations and self-representations of people with cosmopolitan identities arising from mobile global childhoods which transcend categories of migrancy and diaspora. Part I focuses on the ways in which cosmopolitan characters are represented in selected novels, from the debauched Anthony Blanche in Evelyn Waugh’s classic Brideshead Revisited, to the victimized Ila in Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines, to John le Carré’s undefinable spies. Part II focuses on self-representations of people with a cosmopolitan upbringing, in the form of autobiographical narratives by well-known authors such as Barack Obama and Edward Said, along with lesser-known writers, all of whom “write back” to the ways in which they have at times been stereotyped and othered in literary fiction and public discourse.
Nostalgia and the Victorian Historical Novel
Twilight Histories explores the relationship between nostalgia and the Victorian historical novel, arguing that both responded to the turbulence brought by accelerating modernisation. Nostalgia began as a pathological homesickness, its first victims seventeenth-century soldiers serving abroad. Only gradually did it become the sentimental memory we understand it as today. In a striking parallel to nostalgia’s origin, the historical novel emerged in the tumultuous early-years of the nineteenth century, at a time when the Napoleonic Wars once again set troops on the move, creating a new wave of homesick soldiers. In the historical novels of Gaskell, Thackeray, Dickens, Eliot and Hardy, nostalgia offered a language in which to describe the experience of living through changing times as a homesickness for history.