Fictions of America : Narratives of Global Empire book cover
1st Edition

Fictions of America
Narratives of Global Empire

ISBN 9780415333849
Published December 21, 2007 by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

The Internet has had a huge impact on channels of communication and information, reaching across time and space to connect the world through globalisation. In this Internet-led world, story links to story, windows open on new stories and no overall authority establishes priority. This sense of globalisation has raised many questions for contemporary American Novelists, primarily the usefulness or redundancy of narrative and its potentially adaptive function. What are the right stories for such a broadband world? How do contemporary American novelists respond to issues such as the influence of the multinational corporation and its predecessors, human rights Imperialism, the literary work as a marketable commodity, translation as betrayal, data overload, and the implosion of the virtual into the biosphere? Is globalisation inevitable – or is it a fiction which fiction turns into reality?

Fictions of America explores these questions and looks at the ways in which India, China and Africa can be said to have underwritten American culture, how literature has been marketed globally, and how novelists have answered back to power with resistant fictions. Judie Newman examines a wide range of fiction from the mid nineteenth to the twenty-first century including the transnational adoption narrative, short story, historical novel, slave narrative, international bestseller and Western to illustrate her argument. Looking closely at authors such as Bharati Mukherjee, John Updike, Emily Prager, Hannah Crafts, Zora Neale Hurston, David Bradley, Peter Høeg, and Cormac McCarthy, Fictions of America provides a bold response to the crucial questions raised by globalisation.

Table of Contents

Introduction The West Coast Offense  1. Red Letters : Hester Prynne in India and Arizona  2. In the Missionary Position : Emily Prager in China  3. Black Atlantic or Black Athena? Globalising the African American Story  4. Local Life, Global Death : David Bradley ‘s Surrogate Stories  5. Going Global : from Danish postcolonial novel to world bestseller  6. Southern Apes: McCarthy’s Neotenous Killers  7. Priority Narratives : Bharati Mukherjee’s Desirable Daughters.  Conclusion

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Judie Newman (Professor of American Studies, University of Nottingham, Fellow of the English Association) is the author of seven books on American and postcolonial literature, a past President of the British Association for American Studies, and recipient of the Arthur Miller Prize in American studies.


'Judie Newman's Fictions of America: Narratives of Global Empire is a timely, cogently argued and well-written explanation of the ways in which narrative has not only sustained its autonomous power in the era of globalisation, but has made a future for itself as a source of imaginative resistance and creative adaptation ... This book promises to become an important resource for Americanist scholars across the globe.' - Donald Pease, Dartmouth College, USA

'...Dazzling originality...Newman surveys the critical field, highlights the strengths and weaknesses of her predeccessors, and offers a confident and convincing analysis of texts that we thought we new well, alongside less familiar ones that clearly deserve our attention' - Aliki Varvogli, Symbiosis