The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $22.47
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 35%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (5) from $22.47   
  • New (2) from $38.36   
  • Used (3) from $22.47   

Overview

It almost goes without saying that the rise in popularity of television has killed the audience for "serious" literature. This is such a given that reading Fitzpatrick's challenge to this notion can be very disconcerting, as she traces the ways in which a small cadre of writers of "serious" literature—DeLillo, Pynchon, and Franzen, for instance—have propagated this myth in order to set themselves up as the last bastions of good writing. Fitzpatrick first explores whether serious literature was ever as all-pervasive as critics of the television culture claim and then asks the obvious question: what, or who, exactly, are these guys defending good writing against?

Fitzpatrick examines the ways in which the anxiety about the supposed death of the novel is built on a myth of the novel's past ubiquity and its present displacement by television. She explores the ways in which this myth plays out in and around contemporary fiction and how it serves as a kind of unacknowledged discourse about race, class, and gender. The declaration constructs a minority status for the "white male author" who needs protecting from television's largely female and increasingly non-white audience. The novel, then, is transformed from a primary means of communication into an ancient, almost forgotten, and thus, treasured form reserved for the well-educated and well-to-do, and the men who practice it are exalted as the practitioners of an almost lost art.

Such positioning serves to further marginalize women writers and writers of color because it makes the novel, by definition, the preserve of the poor endangered white man. If the novel is only a product of a small group of white men, how can the contributions of women and writers of color be recognized? Instead, this positioning abandons women and people of color to television as a creative outlet, and in return, cedes television to them. Fitzpatrick argues that there's a level of unrecognized patronization in assuming that television serves no purpose but to provide dumb entertainment to bored women and others too stupid to understand novels. And, instead, she demonstrates the real positive effects of a televisual culture.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Fitzpatrick is an adroit critic, and her use of contemporary theory is clever and interesting. This is important reading for anyone interested in postmodern culture or contemporary American fiction...Essential." CHOICE, June 2007

Fitzpatrick is an adroit critic, and her use of contemporary theory is clever and interesting. This is important reading for anyone interested in postmodern culture or contemporary American fiction . . . Essential.
Choice

The Anxiety of Obsolescence is a clear-eyed look into jittery screens, connecting the moving dots of new media with new considerations of traditional literature to outline 'the cultural purposes served by repeated proclamations of the novel's untimely demise.' It is one of those rare instances when a book you thought someone must have written but no one did suddenly appears—and you just as suddenly couldn't imagine anyone ever writing differently.
—Michael Joyce, Professor of English and Media Studies, Vassar College

Smart, savvy and insightful, The Anxiety of Obsolescence asks not whether the novel is obsolete but what cultural and social functions are served by that claim. Fitzpatrick makes a strong connection between the novel's putative 'endangered' status and rear-guard actions to preserve white male hegemony. In so doing, she gives us a fresh and compelling perspective. The Anxiety of Obsolescence is essential reading for anyone interested in the postmodern novel."
—N. Katherine Hayles, Hillis Professor of Literature, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826515209
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,272,209
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Fitzpatrick is Associate Professor of English and Media Studies at Pomona College.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction : the anxiety of obsolescence 1
1 Three discourses on the age of television 11
2 Machine 58
3 Spectacle 98
4 Network 149
5 Obsolescence, the marginal, and the popular 201
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)