By Samuel Cohen
During this daring e-book, Samuel Cohen asserts the literary and ancient significance of the interval among the autumn of the Berlin wall and that of the dual Towers in manhattan. With fresh readability, he examines six Nineties novels and post-9/11 novels that discover the impression of the tip 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 earlier to a gift that's mockingly a fan of denying that connection. Exploring the methods principles 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 top of historical past demanding situations us to reassess those works in a brand new gentle, 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 background” claims positioned forth by way of such theorists as Fredric Jameson and Walter Benn Michaels. In a simple, affecting type, After the tip of background deals us a brand new imaginative and prescient for the functions and confines of up to date fiction.
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Additional info for After the End of History: American Fiction in the 1990s
Shall I admit it? I thrill’d. I felt that if I ran fast enough, I could gain altitude, and fly. (559–60) The occupancy of America by all that reason would deny dramatizes its status as the land of possibility. The loss of these phenomena, their eviction, dramatizes the loss of this possibility. Dixon’s visit to Hollow Earth makes plain that it is eviction: mason & dixon and the amper sand 43 “Once the solar parallax is known,” they told me, “once the necessary Degrees are measur’d, and the size and weight and shape of the Earth are calculated inescapably at last, all this will vanish.
Postmodernism, which Jameson calls the cultural dominant of our age, is the product or expression of the latest stage of modern societal development, according to Ernst Mandel’s three-stage theory of capitalism. 10 Under the current cultural dominant, Jameson argues, the realism that was the end of his tory 19 already compromised under monopoly capitalism has become unachievable. It is unachievable because under the cultural logic of late capitalism, the fragmentation of experience has led to the disintegration of the bourgeois subject, who is then in turn unable to forge a unified understanding of her world.
A tree-slaughtering Animal, with no purpose but to continue creating forever a perfect Corridor over the Land. Its teeth of Steel, — its Jaws, Axmen, — its Life’s Blood, Disbursement. And what of its intentions, beyond killing ev’rything due west of it? do you know? I don’t either. (678) After some disagreement, the line is ended, and the party turns back, but the Indians by whose war parties they are surrounded at the end will not be able to turn back those who sent Mason and Dixon. The unlimited possibility of America, of the New Eden, the land mason & dixon and the amper sand 45 not just of the free but the equal, will not survive either.
After the End of History: American Fiction in the 1990s by Samuel Cohen