Fin de milli'Anaire French Fiction: The Aesthetics of Crisis

Fin de milli'Anaire French Fiction: The Aesthetics of Crisis

by Ruth Cruickshank


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The turn of the millennium in France coincided with a number of tangible crises and apocalyptic discourses, and with the growth of the mass media and global market, further generating and manipulating crisis. In this original, wide-ranging but closely analytical study, Cruickshank contextualizes and reads the work of four influential writers of prose fiction —- Angot, Echenoz, Houellebecq, and Redonnet —- teasing out each one's response to this convergence. She suggests that the recurrent fictional and cultural trope of the turning point has both aesthetic and critical potential. Bringing together analyses spanning literature, thought, and culture, she identifies and critiques the ways in which, on the eve of the twenty-first century, different theoretical and fictional approaches confront the manipulation of crisis discourses. Drawing on a 'long twentieth century' of crisis thinking, Cruickshank counters the perception that a postmodern model of perpetual crisis is culturally dominant, and establishes instead a new critical framework with which to respond to the fin de millénaire aesthetics of crisis.

Through patient and illuminating readings, Cruickshank demonstrates how prose fictions afford critical purchase on the global market, and on French co-implication in it. She identifies how the four contrasting writers reflect, perpetuate, and challenge the misogyny and symbolic violence of late capitalism. Fin de millénaire prose fiction emerges as both problematic and problematizing, bespeaking the need to intervene in debates about the mass media, neoliberalism, global market economics, and sexual and postcolonial identities, while also demonstrating the enduring agency — critical and creative — of literature itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199571758
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 11/09/2009
Series: Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs Series
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Ruth Cruickshank is Senior Lecturer in French at Royal Holloway, University of London. She was educated at the University of Leeds and at Lady Margaret Hall and the Queen's College, Oxford. Her research investigates how post-war French writers, filmmakers, and thinkers respond to, resist, and contribute to the development of consumer culture in France. She investigates the political and aesthetic potential of turn-of-the-millennium French prose fiction; and the ways in which representations of food and drink in literature, cinema, and thought elucidate the relationship between aesthetic developments, consumption, and identity narratives in post-war France. She has written on Ernaux, Houellebecq, and Redonnet; on representations of food, drink, and consumption in the cinema of the Trente Glorieuses, Claire Denis, and Agnès Varda; and on globalization and symbolic violence in recent filmic images of Paris.

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