Further, it will focus on literary fiction, that is, novels which were traditionally called literary. About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer. Over thirty essays by leading and emerging international scholars cover topics such as: - Experimentalism, Science, Nature, Narrative, and the City - Authors such as Jonathan Franzen, David Mitchell, Hari Kunzru, Ali Smith, Sarah Waters, and David Eggers - Contemporary literature in different international contexts - Interviews with contemporary authors or industry figures including Jonny Geller and Ben Markovits Accessible to experts, students, and general readers, the Routledge Companion to Twenty-First Century Literary Fiction provides a map of the critical issues central to the discipline, as well as uncovers new perspectives and new directions for the development of the field"-- The study of contemporary fiction is a fascinating yet challenging one.
Thirty-eight essays by leading and emerging international scholars cover topics such as: - Identity, including race, sexuality, class, and religion in the twenty-first century; - The impact of technology, terrorism, activism, and the global economy on the modern world and modern literature; - The form and format of twenty-first century literary fiction, including analysis of established genres such as the pastoral, graphic novels, and comedic writing, and how these have been adapted in recent years. Customer Reviews. Write a review.
The Routledge Companion to Literature and Science
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Shop Our Brands. All Rights Reserved. Cancel Submit. Many of the developments of this period can be brought together under the heading of postmodernism, a phenomenon that has proved notoriously difficult to define or locate chronologically. The third section of the volume discusses forms of experimental writing in which the notion of identity has been especially contested throughout the twentieth century — the female, African-American and postcolonial avant-gardes — before the final section of Part One examines attempts to put a stamp on the experimental contemporary, whether in the form of theoretical reflections and manifestoes, engagements with popular culture Avant-Pop, post-postmodernism , wider cultural movements globalization, altermodernism , or new forms of critical practice post-criticism.
Part Two of the volume eschews a strictly chronological approach, focusing instead on innovation within and across genres. The next section focuses on experiments with narrative and with fictionality more generally, with chapters on unnatural narration, impossible worlds, experimental life writing, and genre fiction and the avant-garde. The final section of this part considers ways in which the novel in particular has experimented in recent years with form and design, with attention to graphic novels, multimodal fiction, the incorporation of information design in the novel and printed interactive fiction.
The third and final part of the volume comprises one section and turns to the impact that the digital age has had on experimental literature across media. Chapters on digital fiction, code poetry and new media, computer gaming, and virtual forms of autobiographical writing show the wide range and versatility of contemporary experimentation, and point to the ways in which the first years of the twenty-first century, like those of the twentieth, have been concerned with the radical possibilities opened up by new technologies.
It is a somewhat different matter, however, to recognize the direct genealogical connection between the historical avant-gardes of a hundred or so years ago and late-twentieth-century and twenty-first-century experimentalism. Many of the general features, and even some of the specific practices, of experimental literature of the second half of the century were anticipated by the avant-garde groups of the period from just before the Great War until the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, the epoch of the great isms of the early twentieth century, including Italian and Russian Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism, and Expressionism, down to Existentialism and Absurdism see chapters by White, Murphy, Stockwell and Gavins.
Multi- and inter-media experiments, experiments with language, identity, visuality and the creative process, the embrace of transformative new technologies, the testing and transgression of the limits of artistic and social acceptability — all of these, and many other features of recent literary experimentalism, are prefigured by the historical avant-gardes. These models of experimental practice and group behavior are in some cases embraced by later literary experimentalists and adapted to their own uses, in other cases resisted, but they can rarely if ever be ignored.
Conversely, it is just as easy to see how groups as diverse as the French New Novelists and the Tel Quel circle, the Lettrists and Situationists, and the OuLiPo group all defined themselves in opposition to their Surrealist and Existentialist predecessors see Marx-Scourras, Miller and Baetens, this volume. For better or worse, the life and work of the historical avant-gardes seem to have been incorporated into the very DNA of the experimental literature that has come after them.
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The persistence of the historical avant-garde into the present guarantees a sort of family resemblance among the contemporary varieties of experimentalism. As with real families, resemblance here is not a matter of everyone possessing some essential feature common to all types of experimentalism; rather, it involves a series of overlapping similarities — common threads, some of which connect one subset of experimental practices, whiles others connect other subsets.
Some of the common threads that we have detected among the experimental practices surveyed in this volume are outlined below; no doubt the reader will find others.
Postmodernism, whatever it may be — a period, style, literary movement, or cultural condition — is, by its very name, seen as a successor to the historical avant-gardes and, more specifically, to modernism. It is precisely this controversial topic that McHale raises in his essay for the volume, first recalling the unsettled dispute on the matter between philosopher J. Lyotard and architecture critic Charles Jencks, who advocated a postmodern experimentalism rooted in modernism and a postmodern eclecticism associated with the popular, respectively.
For McHale, there are two key tropes of postmodern literature that complicate each side of the argument: the process of world-modelling and the presentation of an unpresentable textual sublime. True to the spirit of postmodernism, McHale ultimately refuses to pit the experimental and the eclectic against each other in a straight dichotomy.
Similarly, Elana Gomel in her discussion of popular genre fiction itself a progeny of the postmodern interrogates the absolute segregation between genre fiction as low art and the avant-garde as high art. Focusing on writing of the present, both Liam Connell in his discussion of the literature of globalization and Alison Gibbons in her account of altermodenist fiction suggest that contemporary experimental novels exhibit a heightened awareness of the value of commodities in the international market place.
The concatenation of time and space is one of the commonalities shared by the literature of globalization and altermodernist fiction. Two years after the first appearance of the Internationale Situationiste the literary journal Tel Quel was founded by a group of relatively unknown French writers. Though the two journals differed in format and approach, they both played a crucial role in shaping French culture and politics in the tumultuous years leading to the uprisings of May As Marx-Scouras notes, however, this preoccupation with language was not an act of political disengagement; indeed quite the contrary.
A focus on language and its ways of making meaning was also key in the s and s for another, disparate group of writers, based mainly in the U. Having traced this non-hierarchical, open-ended style to the modernist experiments of Dorothy Richardson, Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein, amongst others, Friedman claims that the female avant-garde becomes harder to identify in the late twentieth century, as experimental tropes and techniques are incorporated into the mainstream. Political subversion has indeed been a feature of recent experimental writing across the world. The experimental writing practices of Italian Futurism and Russian Cubo-Futurism were hardly isolated from the politics of the early twentieth century.
Nevertheless, while the political was clearly one motivation for the Futurists, the technological was a central inspiration. The rapid advancement of science and technology at the turn of the century was heralded by founder F. Marinetti as an impetus for literary experimentation. Words-in-Freedom generated poems in which onomatopoeias abound, punctuation is replaced by mathematic symbols, and words themselves are dismantled. Contemporary electronic code poetry similarly explores the fabric of language.
Code poetry, Tomasula explains, is highly self-conscious, and its aesthetics are concerned with revealing the mechanisms by which it is generated. Instead, such works exist as theatrical and engrossing hybrids of video, sound and music; they are often interactive; and they recast experimental literary art as multimedia experience. Code poetry, new media literature, and the Futurist impulse to experiment with typography all point towards the potentialities of the visual dimension of language, literature and narrative.
Concrete poetry explores not only the visuality of language but also of the page, which becomes a canvas, with white space as much a part of the literary work as words themselves. In his essay, Joe Bray outlines the history of concrete prose and poetry. While the origins of concrete prose can be found in early novelists such as Laurence Sterne and Henry Fielding, Bray argues that the fascination with visual form has not abated in twentieth and twenty-first century novels, pointing to modernist, postmodernist, and contemporary writers for whom the page is still very much an experimental surface.
Although graphic novels are certainly multimodal, Gibbons chooses not to discuss them, preferring instead to view such works as a genre in their own right. But the problem of the economic is not a merely a matter of finding equilibrium between rhetoric and models, history and mathematics, or moral philosophy and physics. Seybold and Chihara anticipate this:.
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We do not imagine that literature can or should represent an entirely autonomous field from power or from the capitalist social relations under which is produced. We do believe in the importance of literary knowledge in the face of the political and social matrix that creates us and that today threatens to destroy us. The struggle over economic justice requires political contestation, not solely better ideas or histories. The greatest coup of modern economics was neither the marginal revolution, nor the neoclassical synthesis.
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Rather it was smuggling in an exploitative ideological project behind a technocratic front. Those who hold politico-economic power have no interest in ceding it, which is in no small part why the conversation this collection encapsulates seems one-sided. Mainstream economics has long demonstrated it cares little about being just, about being fair, about being equitable, about being egalitarian.
In the lead up to and fall out from the financial crisis, it has demonstrated that it cares little about being consistent, let alone correct. It cares less about freedom, a concept it consistently evokes, than its relationship to power and its ability to reproduce that relationship. No amount of historical, philosophical, or rhetorical arguments, no demystification, no study or synthesis will change this simple fact.
If mainstream economics has reproduced its relation to power by making arguments that appeal to the interests of the powerful, the realm of argumentation seems limited. Making the economy more just is not, unfortunately, a matter of making just arguments to powerful people. The metaphor fails because it relies on bad economic thinking: free markets, equal access, and equilibrium. Like mainstream economic models, the marketplace of ideas refuses to see power — by design.
Yet there is a similar market basis for the technocratic arguments offered by progressive critics — literary and otherwise — of the excesses of capitalism over the last 45 years. Calling economics to its shared roots in political economy and its relation to humanistic study is, to my mind, insufficient. Without the power of collective action, better interpretations alone will not change our politico-economic world.
Of course, in The 18th Brumaire , Marx also had an account of determination, subjectivity, and political praxis. But, to modify Marx once more, we also must not allow history to smother our own content. When it comes to the political contestation of economics, we cannot take our poetry from the past but only from the future.
No economic arrangement lasts forever, but what follows is not inevitable. Literary knowledge of the economy may allow us to see the possibilities opened up by this incommensurability, but possibilities need to be seized, not solely historicized.