Sublime Enjoyment: On the Perverse Motive in American Literature

Sublime Enjoyment: On the Perverse Motive in American Literature

by Dennis A. Foster


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Linking classic American literature to contemporary popular culture, Sublime Enjoyment argues that the rational systems of normal social life are motivated and sustained by perverse desires. This perversity arises from the failure of symbolic satisfactions love, work, success to make us happy, and from our refusal to accept that failure. Examining the ways in which this inadvertence is represented in American literature and culture, Dennis Foster identifies ways that longings are linked to social forces.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521108188
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 04/09/2009
Series: Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture Series , #112
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 196
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.43(d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: the problem with pleasure; 2. The sublime community; 3. Re-Poe Man: Poe's un-American sublime; 4. Too resurgent: liquidity and consumption in Henry James; 5. Alphabetic pleasures: The Names; 6. J. G. Ballard's empire of the senses: perversion and the failure of authority; 7. Fatal West: W. S. Burrough's perverse destiny; 8. Conclusion: agency in the perverse; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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