2014: The Death of the Postmodern Novel and the Rise of Autofiction

The postmodern novel is dead. It is no longer what William James would call a living hypothesis: no committed literary novelist would now choose to write a postmodern fiction. Sure, genre and YA novelists may continue to churn out commodified, page-turning, loosely Victorian versions of the postmodern novel, but the robust fictional project of Pynchon, DeLillo, Coover, and even David Foster Wallace no longer holds sway over literary writing. In 2014, instead, many of the best novels were autofictions that vigorously reasserted the self. … Read More

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O, Dystopic Irony: A Few of the Most Misused Literary Terms

At Salon this week, Morten Høi Jensen argues that “Big Brother” is a less apt Orwellian concept for our times than “the relationship between politics and the English language.” Perhaps so. Though this is a case of misplaced cultural emphasis more than a misunderstanding of a term, it still sparked a question — what about the literary terms we so frequently misuse? Certainly those shoes in the window are not Kafkaesque, as their tag claims. … Read More

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Science Fiction in the Suburbs of Paris: When Mass Housing Meets Postmodernism

The Parisian suburbs are known for their grands ensembles, massive suburban apartment complexes built in the 1950s and 1960s. Square, monofunctional and surrounded by open spaces, they are the materialization of the reigning Modernist ideology of the time and are the first view foreign visitors get from Paris as they arrive from Roissy Charles De Gaulle or Orly Airport, as in the view of Sarcelles below. … Read More

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