By Samuel Cohen
During this daring booklet, Samuel Cohen asserts the literary and old value of the interval among the autumn of the Berlin wall and that of the dual Towers in big apple. With fresh readability, he examines six Nineties novels and post-9/11 novels that discover the effect of the top of the chilly battle: Pynchon's Mason & Dixon, Roth's American Pastoral, Morrison's Paradise, O'Brien's within the Lake of the Woods, Didion's the very last thing He sought after, Eugenides's Middlesex, Lethem's fort of Solitude, and DeLillo's Underworld. Cohen emphasizes how those works reconnect the prior to a gift that's paradoxically partial to denying that connection. Exploring the methods rules approximately paradise and pastoral, distinction and exclusion, innocence and righteousness, triumph and trauma deform the tales american citizens inform themselves approximately their nation’s earlier, After the tip of historical past demanding situations us to think again those works in a brand new mild, supplying clean, insightful readings of what are destined to be vintage works of literature. whilst, Cohen enters into the theoretical dialogue approximately postmodern old knowing. Throwing his hat within the ring with strength and magnificence, he confronts not just Francis Fukuyama’s triumphalist reaction to the autumn of the Soviet Union but additionally the opposite literary and political “end of historical past” claims positioned forth by way of such theorists as Fredric Jameson and Walter Benn Michaels. In a simple, affecting type, After the tip of historical past bargains us a brand new imaginative and prescient for the features and confines of up to date fiction.
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Extra resources for After the End of History: American Fiction in the 1990s
In a world that no longer reads, where people are more attuned to the image and more susceptible to the mass appeal, Gray says, novelists can no longer affect the way people see the world. The kidnapping, the bombing, the single violent act repeated over and over on the television news are the novel’s successors. The morning of September 11, 2001, tested Gray’s hypothesis. The images of the Towers being hit, burning, and collapsing in gray clouds have become inescapable. They have been burned into the American consciousness, beyond words.
As do the Indians, at least the way they were, untouched by the Old World. When the party finally reaches the line, Mason wants to continue, thinking that the Indians who travel the path and live beyond it will not threaten them once they see that they are harmless. Dixon, on the other hand, wants to stop. They don’t want any of thah’? They want to know how to stop this great invisible Thing that comes crawling Straight on over their Lands, devouring all in its Path. . A tree-slaughtering Animal, with no purpose but to continue creating forever a perfect Corridor over the Land.
Could still entertain the extravagant expectation that the arts and sciences would not merely promote the control of the forces of nature, but also further the understanding of self and world, the progress of morality, justice in social institutions, and even human happiness. Little of this optimism remains to us in the twentieth century. But the problem has remained: . . should we continue to hold fast to the intentions of the Enlightenment, however fractured they may be, or should we rather relinquish the entire project of modernity?