The Futures of the Present: New Directions in (American) Literature
It has become a critical commonplace that postmodernism no longer serves as an adequate designation for contemporary literature. But what comes after postmodernism? What are the tendencies and directions within contemporary American literature that promise to shape its future?
The contributions to this book are written in the shadows of ‘new media’, a turn towards the nonhuman in critical thinking, and a surge in environmental and apocalyptic thought. Engaging with such contemporary debates, the authors map the rapidly changing ecosystem of contemporary literary genres and forms and attend to transformations in the production, reception, and circulation of books. This book takes for granted that American literature does have a future, although whatever this future holds, it is unlikely to be what we expect. At this historical juncture, the American novel seems to carve its future though an engagement with issues at the forefront of our present, thereby ensuring its own ongoing contemporaneity. This book was originally published as a special issue of Studia Neophilologica.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Futures of American Literature Danuta Fjellestad and David Watson
1. Minds, Messages, and the Moral Imagination in the Media of Fiction: Inanimate Alice between Cognitive and Rhetorical Paradigms John David Zuern
2. "Take that you intellectuals!" and "kaPOW!": Adam Thirlwell and the Metamodernist Future of Style Alison Gibbons
3. The Paradoxes of "Unnatural" Mimesis in Gordon Sheppard’s HA! Danuta Fjellestad
4. Utopia, Sort of: A Case Study in Metamodernism Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker
5. Don DeLillo’s Point Omega, the Anthropocene, and the Scales of Literature Pieter Vermeulen
6. The Space of Genre in the New Green Novel Caren Irr
7. A Sociological Imagination Susan Hegeman
8. The Role of Place in the Post-Apocalypse: Contrasting The Road and World War Z Petter Skult
9. Walking as a Metaphor for Narrativity Marina Ludwigs
Danuta Fjellestad is Professor of English at Uppsala University, Sweden. She is primarily interested in the experimental American novel of the 20th and 21st centuries.
David Watson is Associate Professor of English at Uppsala University, Sweden. He works on contemporary and nineteenth-century American fiction.