Nathaniel Wallace’s Scanning the Hypnoglyph chronicles a contemporary genre that exploits sleep’s evocative dimensions. While dreams, sleeping nudes, and other facets of the dormant state were popular with artists of the early twentieth century (and long before), sleep experiences have given rise to an even wider range of postmodern artwork. Scanning the Hypnoglyph first assesses the modernist framework wherein the sleeping subject typically enjoys firm psychic grounding. As postmodernism begins, subjective space is fragmented, the representation of sleep reflecting the trend. Among other topics, this book demonstrates how portrayals of dormant individuals can reveal imprints of the self. Gender issues are taken up as well. “Mainstream,” heterosexual representations are considered along with depictions of gay, lesbian, and androgynous sleepers.
Memory, Identity, (Post-)Postmodernism
The Holocaust is often said to be unrepresentable. Yet since the 1990s, a new generation of Jewish American writers have been returning to this history again and again, insisting on engaging with it in highly playful, comic, and “impious” ways. Focusing on the fiction of Michael Chabon, Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Krauss, and Nathan Englander, this book suggests that this literature cannot simply be dismissed as insensitive or improper. It argues that these Jewish American authors engage with the Holocaust in ways that renew and ensure its significance for contemporary generations. These ways, moreover, are intricately connected to efforts of finding new means of expressing Jewish American identity, and of moving beyond the increasingly apparent problems of postmodernism.