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The Poetics of Genre in the Contemporary Novel

Tim Lanzendörfer - Contributions by Martina Allen; Roger Bellin; Katie Daily-Bruckner; Tim DeJong; Yonatan Englender; Lai-Tze Fan; Elana Gomel; Stephen Hock; Gavin F. Hurley; Salwa Karoui-Elounelli and Philipp Löffler

The Poetics of Genre in the Contemporary Novel investigates the role of genre in the contemporary novel: taking its departure from the observation that numerous contemporary novelists make use of popular genre influences in what are still widely considered to be literary novels, it sketches the uses, the work, and the value of genre. It suggests the value of a critical look at texts’ genre use for an analysis of the contemporary moment. From this, it develops a broader perspective, suggesting the value of genre criticism and taking into view traditional genres such as the bildungsroman and the metafictional novel as well as the kinds of amalgamated forms which have recently come to prominence. In essays discussing a wide range of authors from Steven Hall to Bret Easton Ellis to Colson Whitehead, the contributors to the volume develop their own readings of genre’s work and valence in the contemporary novel. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 310Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4985-1728-7 • Hardback • November 2015 • $95.00 • (£65.00)
978-1-4985-1730-0 • Paperback • July 2017 • $49.99 • (£32.95)
978-1-4985-1729-4 • eBook • November 2015 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
Tim Lanzendörfer is assistant professor of American studies at the University of Mainz.

Introduction: The Generic Turn? Toward a Poetics of Genre in the Contemporary Novel.

Part One. Genre at the End of Postmodernism
1 Aliens in America: Toni Morrison, Steven Spielberg, and the Ends of Postmodernism
Philipp Löffler

2 The Digital Intensification of Postmodern Poetics
Lai-Tze Fan

3 The Black Box of Genre in Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist and Charles Yu’s How to Live Safelyin a Science Fictional Universe
Stephen Hock

4 Self-Parody and the Aesthetics of Literary Transgression in John Hawkes’s An Irish Eye and Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice
Salwa Karoui-Elounelli

5 Sincerity, Sharing, and Authorial Discourses on the Fiction/Nonfiction Distinction: The Case of Dave Eggers’s You Shall Know Our Velocity
Virginia Pignagnoli

Part Two. High and Low, Literary and Popular
6 Techno-Anxiety and the Middlebrow: Science-Fictionalization in the Fictional Mainstream of the Early Twenty-First Century
Roger Bellin

7 Post-Apocalypse Now—Cormac McCarthy's The Road as Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction
Yonatan Englender and Elana Gomel

8 Ghostly Presences: Nostalgia, the Literary Market, and the Cultural Work of Genre in Stephen King’s Joyland
Clemens Spahr

9 Postmodern Autonomy and the Poetics of Genre in Matt Ruff’s Novels
Annette Schimmelpfennig and Tim Lanzendörfer

10 Purposing the Familiar: Genre, Repetition, and Anxiety in Breat Easton Ellis’s Lunar Park
Gavin F. Hurley

Part Three. Revisiting Traditional Genre(s)
11 The Heirs of Don Quixote: Representations of the World-Shaping Powers of Genre in Contemporary Fiction
Martina Allen

12 Reimagining Genre in the Contemporary Immigrant Novel.
Katie Daily-Bruckner

13 Looking Beneath the Surface: Self and Genre in Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland
Tim De Jong

14 Connecting Travel Writing, Bildungsroman, and Therapeutic Culture in Dave Eggers’s Literature
Robert Mousseau


About the Contributors

Both contributor and editor, Lanzendörfer has compiled an impressive variety of essays dealing with genre in the postmodern age and beyond. The issue is not a new one, and in fact it reinvents itself in virtually every generation. Nonetheless, few collections address the interactions and functions of so-called artistic fiction and 'lowbrow' entertainment as aggressively and productively as do the contributors to this collection. Investigating the liminal area between popular and 'literary' work has always been hazardous, and this book makes it even more so in that it ventures into narrative forms outside the novel itself, especially film and television. Scholars from the US, Germany, Israel, Canada, Italy, and Tunisia, all with impressive critical credentials, handle the challenge with skill and international heft. Divided into three sections, 'Genre at the End of Postmodernism,' 'Between High and Low, Literary and Popular,' and 'Revisiting Traditional Genre,' the 14 essays evaluate works as diverse as Saving Private Ryan, Cormac McCarthy's apocalyptic The Road, and Steven King's Joyland. The range of critical perspectives is inclusive and far-reaching. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.