The Angle Between Two Walls: The Fiction of J. G. Ballard

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Does the Angle Between Two Walls have a Happy Ending?

J. G. Ballard has both been declared Britain's most important living novelist and dismissed as a marginal figure "beyond psychiatric help". He has earned praise and condemnation, written bestsellers and obscure avant-garde works, gained coveted prizes and prosecutions for obscenity. For forty years, his extraordinary work...

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Overview

Does the Angle Between Two Walls have a Happy Ending?

J. G. Ballard has both been declared Britain's most important living novelist and dismissed as a marginal figure "beyond psychiatric help". He has earned praise and condemnation, written bestsellers and obscure avant-garde works, gained coveted prizes and prosecutions for obscenity. For forty years, his extraordinary work has moved between science fiction, apocalyptic visions, autobiography and fictions of the contemporary urban landscape. Prophet or pervert? How are we to judge his work?

In this book, Roger Luckhurst reads Ballard's fiction within a series of contexts, skillfully negotiating literary, philosophical and historical terrains in order to illustrate Ballard's central works. Luckhurst suggests that the extremity of the responses to texts such as The Atrocity Exhibition and Crash is a product of Ballard's occupation of an "impossible" space in the mechanisms that dictate literary judgements. At once science fiction and mainstream, popular and avant-garge, Ballard is seen as being in the 'angle between two walls". His fictions are awkward and provoking, it is suggested, in forcing us to confront the frameworks in which we come to judge the literary.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Luckhurst (English, Birbeck College, London) evaluates novelist J.G. Ballard's writing, not only within the context of the science fiction genre but also in relation to issues of popular culture and legitimization, post-modernism, and the legacy of the avant- garde. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312174392
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 1/15/1998
  • Pages: 235
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.43 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Roger Luckhurst teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and literary theory at Birkbeck College, University of London. He was awarded the Science Fiction Reseach Association of America's Pioneer Award for outstanding original research in 1995. This is his first book.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Preface: Some Framing Questions
Ch. 1 J. G. Ballard and the Catastrophe of Genre 1
Judging Science Fiction 4
Internal Legitimations 13
Reading Genre 25
J. G. Ballard and the Generic Law 28
Ch. 2 J. G. Ballard and the Genre of Catastrophe 37
The Imperial Subtext 40
From Catastrophe to Apokalupsis 46
'Inner Space' 48
Inside and Outside the 'Jungian' Catastrophe: The Drowned World, The Crystal World 51
The 'Existential' Catastrophe: The Drought 62
Conclusion: Beyond... 69
Ch. 3 The Atrocity Exhibition and the Problematic of the Avant-Garde 73
'Avant-Garde Science Fiction'? 76
Theories of the Avant-Garde 78
The Atrocity Exhibition as Avant-Garde Composition 86
Ballard and Painterly/Paranoiac Surrealism 90
The Atrocity Exhibition, Mass Culture, and the Neo-Avant-Garde 95
The Avant-Garde, Violence and the 'Feminine' 105
Does the Angle Between Two Walls Have a Happy Ending? 113
Ch. 4 Mediation, Simulation, Recalcitrance: From Crash to Hello America, With Detours 119
Media Stories 119
Crash 123
Supermodernity and the Uncanny 129
The Temporality of Future Ruins 138
My Re-Found Land: Hello America 141
Ch. 5 The Signature of J. G. Ballard 151
Un/Readability 151
The Paraph: Empire of the Sun and The Kindness of Women 153
All by itself?: Idiom in Vermilion Sands 168
Notes 183
Primary Bibliography 191
Secondary Bibliography 192
Index 209
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