Philip K. Dick: Contemporary Critical Interpretations

Overview

This book contains 11 essays and a comprehensive bibliography. The essays reveal the extent to which Philip K. Dick's personal obsessions pre-figured postmodernist concerns with humanity's self-alienation, cultural and personal paranoia, and the politics of simulation, deceit, and self-deception. The contributors reveal how Dick's ontological concerns, stated in his repeated questioning of What is real?, are also political concerns. Thus, they examine the philosophical and religious foundations on which his work ...

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Overview

This book contains 11 essays and a comprehensive bibliography. The essays reveal the extent to which Philip K. Dick's personal obsessions pre-figured postmodernist concerns with humanity's self-alienation, cultural and personal paranoia, and the politics of simulation, deceit, and self-deception. The contributors reveal how Dick's ontological concerns, stated in his repeated questioning of What is real?, are also political concerns. Thus, they examine the philosophical and religious foundations on which his work rests, offering much-needed arguments which reveal both his philosophical depth and the extent to which he drew from esoteric and occult religions. His cultural critique also receives significant exposition, as the contributors reveal how Dick's fiction enacts the larger cultural struggles of cold war America, with its conflicting private visions and public realities, and its personal and political loyalties. The contributors argue for the significance of heretofore neglected or marginalized texts of Dick as well, including in their discussions many early short stories from the early 1950s and neglected novels of the mid-1960s, arguing that there is a need to understand how Dick shaped (or misshaped) his fictions so as to reimagine the life of his society.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A collection of 11 (two previously published) essays investigating Dick's fiction and the ideologies of the critical modes which have structured our perceptions of it. Roughly organized according to the decade in which the fiction appeared, the collection begin with an overview of Dick's work, followed by an examination of a theory of paranoia in his work. Four essays are devoted respectively to his fiction in the 1950s and 1960s, with a final chapter applying Kenneth Burke's ideas to a discussion of the Valis trilogy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

SAMUEL J. UMLAND is Associate Professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Towards a Theory of Paranoia: The Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick 7
2 Dianoia/Paranoia: Dick's Double "Impostor" 19
3 Worlds of Chance and Counterfeit: Dick, Lem, and the Preestablished Cacophony 43
4 Philip K. Dick and the Nuclear Family 61
5 To Flee from Dionysus: Enthousiasmos from "Upon the Dull Earth" to VALIS 81
6 The Swiss Connection: Psychological Systems in the Novels of Philip K. Dick 101
7 Unrequited Love in We Can Build You 127
8 "What Is This Sickness?": "Schizophrenia" and We Can Build You 143
9 "Man Everywhere in Chains": Dick, Rousseau, and The Penultimate Truth 157
10 Two Cases of Conscience: Loyalty and Race in The Crack in Space and Counter-Clock World 169
11 Chinese Finger-traps or "A Perturbation in the Reality Field": Paradox as Conversion in Philip K. Dick's Fiction 197
Primary Bibliography 207
Secondary Bibliography 211
Index 221
Contributors 227
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