The etymological affinity between ‘criticism’ and ‘crisis’ has never been more resonant than it is today, when social life is increasingly understood as defined by a succession of overlapping global crises: financial and economic crises; environmental crises; geopolitical crises; terrorist crises; public health crises. But what is the role of literary and cultural criticism in conceptualizing this atmosphere of perpetual crisis? If, as Paul de Man maintained, criticism necessarily exists in a state of crisis, in what ways is this condition intensified at a time when the social formations within which criticism operates and the cultural artefacts that it takes as its objects are themselves pervaded by actual and imagined states of emergency? This book, the first sustained response to these questions, demonstrates the capacity of critical thought, working in dialogue with key narrative texts, to provide penetrating insights into a contemporary landscape of global, manufactured risk. Written by an international team of specialist scholars, the essays in the collection draw on a wide variety of contemporary theoretical, fictional, and cinematic sources, ranging from Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Derrida, and Fredric Jameson to Cormac McCarthy, Ian McEwan, and Lauren Beukes to Ghost and the James Bond and National Treasure series. Appearing in the midst of a phase of extraordinary turbulence in the fabric of our interconnected and interdependent world, the book makes a landmark intervention in debates concerning the cultural ramifications of globalization.
Table of Contents
Introduction Paul Crosthwaite I. Critical Thought/Critical Times 1. No Apocalypse, Not Yet: Literary Criticism in an Age of Global Risk Molly Wallace 2. Beyond the Ghost Dance: Democracy and Emergency Nick Mansfield 3. The Incredible Shrinking Human Charlie Gere 4. The Risks of Sustainability Karen Pinkus II. Critical Perspectives on Crisis Narratives 5. The Rise of the Edge: Catastrophic Seascape and the Ecological Uncanny in Cormac McCarthy's The Road Rebecca Giggs 6. Narrating the Coming Pandemic: Avian Influenza, Anticipatory Anxiety, and Neurotic Citizenship Penelope Ironstone Catterall 7. Grey Goo and You: The Ecophagy of Global Capital Robin Stoate 8. Risk and Morality in Ian McEwan's Saturday Lidia De Michelis 9. After Globalization: Narratives of Post-American Hegemony Imre Szeman 10. "The Corporation of Terror": Financial Fictions/Fictions of Finance Nicky Marsh 11. Casino Royale, Financial Aesthetics, and National Narrative Form Alissa G. Karl 12. Phantasmagoric Finance: Risk and the Supernatural in Contemporary Finance Culture Paul Crosthwaite 13. Global Capitalism and a Dystopian South Africa: Trencherman by Eben Venter and Moxyland by Lauren Beukes Andries Visagie
Paul Crossthwaite is Lecturer in English Literature and Member of the Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory, School of English, Communication, and Philosophy, Cardiff University.
"An excellent collection of highly readable work." –Paul Wake, Modern Language Review