Item Details

Rewriting Early America: The Prenational Past in Postmodern Literature

Christopher K. Coffman
Format
Book
Published
Bethlehem : Lehigh University Press, [2019]
Language
English
ISBN
9781611462555, 161146255X, 9781611462562
Summary
Recent poems and fictions set in the early Americas are typically read as affirmations of cultural norms, as evidence of the impossibility of genuine engagement with the historical past, or as contentious repudiations of received histories. Inspired particularly by Mihai Spariosu's arguments regarding literary playfulness as an opening to peace, Rewriting early America: the prenational past in Postmodern literature adopts a different perspective, with the goal of demonstrating that many recent literary texts undertake more constructive and hopeful projects with regard to the American past than critics usually recognize. While honoring writers' pervasive critiques of hegemony, this volume trades a preoccupation with antagonism for an interest in restoration and recuperation. It describes how texts by John Barth, John Berryman, Susan Howe, Toni Morrison, Paul Muldoon, Thomas Pynchon, and William T. Vollmann harness the ambiguities of the colonial past to find sociocultural possibilities that operate beyond the workings of power and outside the politics of difference. Throughout, this book remains devoted to uncovering the moments at which contemporary writers proffer visions of American communities defined not by marginalization and oppression but by responsive understanding and inclusion.
Contents
  • Introduction: contemporary American literature and early America
  • Berryman's Bradstreet and the end(s) of new criticism
  • John Barth's metanarrative critique, or history as literature as reenactment
  • Tradition and critique in Paul Muldoon's "Madoc: a mystery"
  • Material values in Pynchon and Vollman
  • The new world(s) of Thomas Pynchon
  • Silence and places beyond power in the poetry of Susan Howe
  • Conclusion: the problem of American origins, freedom from power, and Toni Morrison's A mercy.
Description
xxvii, 157 pages ; 24 cm
Notes
Includes bibliographical references (pages 141-152) and index.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic

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