By Samuel Cohen
During this daring publication, Samuel Cohen asserts the literary and ancient value of the interval among the autumn of the Berlin wall and that of the dual Towers in ny. With clean readability, he examines six Nineteen Nineties novels and post-9/11 novels that discover the impression of the tip of the chilly conflict: 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 sarcastically 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 previous, After the tip of heritage demanding situations us to re-examine those works in a brand new mild, delivering clean, insightful readings of what are destined to be vintage works of literature. whilst, Cohen enters into the theoretical dialogue approximately postmodern ancient realizing. 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 in addition the opposite literary and political “end of historical past” claims positioned forth by means of such theorists as Fredric Jameson and Walter Benn Michaels. In an easy, affecting kind, After the tip of background bargains us a brand new imaginative and prescient for the functions and confines of latest fiction.
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Additional info for After the End of History: American Fiction in the 1990s
Poststructuralist ideas led to critiques of representation attentive to the differences between distinct times. As the Frankfurt school and others had debated the merits of modernist literature, arguing over what if any representation (and so criticism) of the modern world it was able to achieve in comparison to that which the realist fiction that preceded it achieved, so a younger cohort of postwar theorists debated the ability of the literature of their own era to mount any kind of representation (and so, again, criticism) of their times, in comparison to that achieved by realist and modernist literature.
In the Cold War’s wake, the absence of an overarching narrative about history and the role of the United States in the world after the end of the Cold War led to discussions about American history that included voices as different as Fukuyama, Jameson, and Michaels. After the End of History argues that the historical novels of the 1990s joined this conversation. In their imaginative recreation and exploration of American history and their restoration the end of his tory 27 of its connections to the contemporary state of the nation, these novels resist a number of strands of the conversation, holding instead that the course of the nation cannot be understood simply as a long victory march, that it cannot be seen as entirely lost to our understanding, that it cannot be said that we are no longer interested in it at all.
Another whose work in history offers parallels to both poststructuralism and the contemporary historical novel, Hayden White, in his work on emplotment, develops the idea that all knowledge of the past, all historical writing is in the end not about facts but rather about the construction of narrative. Hutcheon and many others have noted the ways in which White’s Metahistory and Tropics of Discourse describe what the contemporary historical novels Hutcheon calls historiographic metafiction assume — that all we have of the past, we make — that is, all we have are stories.