Book on Contemporary American Fiction: Call for Papers
Call for Papers Deadline:
Fiction Since Nixon
The Politics of the American Novel, 1974-2001
John Beck (University of Newcastle) and David Holloway (University of Derby), editors.
What constitutes an 'American' novel these days? What is the relationship between fiction and politics in the contemporary United States? How might the kind of atomised hyper-individualism promoted in the media and celebrated in the marketplace be resisted or even celebrated in recent novels? What is the legacy of the neo-liberalism of the Clinton years? Are we culturally and politically on the cusp of an isolationist era of right wing pseudo-nostalgia for the military-industrial hegemony of the Sunbelt?
The political, economic and cultural transformations of the last twenty-five years or so have made the canon of what was previously considered contemporary American fiction look like the fossilised remains of a dead civilisation. Scanning the lists of recent American authors makes plain that multiculturalism is now an achieved fact of contemporary American life. Furthermore, the notion of an identifiably 'American' literary identity has been deeply undermined by the challenge to notions of nationhood and national autonomy brought about by globalization on the one hand, and the insights of postcolonial analysis on the other. The break-up of 'high Fordism' and the current crisis of an incipient 'post-Fordist' capitalist order, have sharpened economic inequalities while failing to reverse the ongoing 'long downturn' in the US economy. Since Nixon, the confident assertion of 'Americanness' as synonymous with a kind of unreflective optimism and expansiveness has taken a severe beating. Witness the rise of environmental and anti-capitalist organizations in recent years, the peculiar cultural and political distortions of the far-Right, the force of feminist, ethnic, and class critiques of the dominant ideology, the multivalent and often contradictory impact of global consumer capitalism and its now institutionalised academic alter-ego, postmodernism.
With these questions and issues in mind, we propose to edit a volume of essays dealing with the political and aesthetic ramifications of this new generation of American novels, offering to scholars, teachers, students, and the general reader an historically informed collection of essays on the most important and exciting writers working in the United States since Watergate.
Authors might include, for example: Kathy Acker, Sherman Alexie, Dorothy Allison, Julia Alvarez, Rudolfo Anaya, Paul Auster, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Raymond Carver, Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, Frank Chin, Harry Crews, Don DeLillo, Joan Didion, E. L. Doctorow, Mark Doty, Katherine Dunn, Barry Gifford, Bret Easton Ellis, James Ellroy, Louise Erdrich, Richard Ford, William Gaddis, Tony Hillerman, Pam Houston, Gary Indiana, Arturo Islas, Gish Jen, Charles Johnson, Denis Johnson, Chang-Rae Lee, Norman Mailer, Cormac McCarthy, Jay McInerney, Baharati Mukherjee, Annie Proulx, Thomas Pynchon, Ishmael Reed, Philip Roth, Danzy Senna, Leslie Marmon Silko, Wallace Stegner, Hector Tobar, Anne Tyler, James Welch, Edmund White.
Please send a 500 word proposal or complete manuscript by 31 July 2001 to: Dr John Beck, Department of English, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK. Fax: +44 (0)191 222 8708; Email: J.M.Beck@ncl.ac.uk.
Dr John Beck,
Department of English,
University of Newcastle,
Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU.
England. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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