Literary Criticism

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

By Adam Kelly

American Fiction in Transition is a learn of the observer-hero narrative, a hugely major yet significantly overlooked style of the yank novel. throughout the lens of this transitional style, the ebook explores the Nineteen Nineties when it comes to debates concerning the finish of postmodernism, and connects the last decade to different transitional sessions in US literature. Novels by way of 4 significant modern writers are tested: Philip Roth, Paul Auster, E. L. Doctorow and Jeffrey Eugenides. every one novel has the same constitution: an observer-narrator tells the tale of an incredible individual in his existence who has died. yet each one tale is both concerning the fight to inform the tale, to discover enough potential to relate the transitional caliber of the hero's existence. In taking part in out this narrative fight, every one novel thereby addresses the wider challenge of ancient 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

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Does it amount to a history, to a story? Yes and no” (80). Derrida departs from Kierkegaard most radically, however, when he positions Abraham not as a singular knight of faith, acting above and beyond the capability and understanding of normal humans, but as an exemplary everyman, faced with the choice between incompatible demands. For Kierkegaard, the fundamental paradox of the Biblical story lies in Abraham’s faith, his belief that he will get Isaac back despite the absurdity of that idea. “Faith,” maintains Kierkegaard, “is precisely the paradox that the single individual as the single individual is higher than the universal” (55), and it is this faith in the absurd, as Derek Attridge has noted of Fear and Trembling, “that resolves everything” (“Derrida’s” 20).

By achieving a totalizing or dialectical conception of the world-system, and by seeing it as one moment “within the unity of a single great collective story” (Political 19), Jameson contends that we will eventually be empowered to overturn that system. Yet in the discursive means used to achieve this goal lie a paradox, what in Postmodernism Jameson recognizes as a “Sartrean irony”: What happens is that the more powerful the vision of some increasingly total system or logic—the Foucault of the prisons book is the obvious example—the more powerless the reader comes to feel.

Every text that is birthed can only become an example of a genre by inscribing itself with a mark or gesture that does not itself belong to the genre in question; as Derrida puts it, “The trait that marks membership inevitably divides” (227). The need to mark itself, or to be marked, as part of a genre means that any text is both inside and outside that genre at the same time: “The re-mark of belonging does not belong” (230). And so, for Derrida, the question of genre is never one of belonging, but of participation: a text would not belong to any genre.

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