The Poetics of Insecurity: American Fiction and the Uses of Threat

The Poetics of Insecurity: American Fiction and the Uses of Threat

by Johannes Voelz
The Poetics of Insecurity: American Fiction and the Uses of Threat

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Overview

The Poetics of Insecurity: American Fiction and the Uses of Threat by Johannes Voelz

The Poetics of Insecurity turns the emerging field of literary security studies upside down. Rather than tying the prevalence of security to a culture of fear, Johannes Voelz shows how American literary writers of the past two hundred years have mobilized insecurity to open unforeseen and uncharted horizons of possibility for individuals and collectives. In a series of close readings of works by Charles Brockden Brown, Harriet Jacobs, Willa Cather, Flannery O'Connor, and Don DeLillo, Voelz brings to light a cultural imaginary in which conventional meanings of security and insecurity are frequently reversed, so that security begins to appear as deadening and insecurity as enlivening. Timely, broad-ranging, and incisive, Johannes Voelz's study intervenes in debates on American literature as well as in the interdisciplinary field of security studies. It fundamentally challenges our existing explanations for the pervasiveness of security in American cultural and political life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108418768
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 12/28/2017
Series: Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture Series , #165
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.79(d)

About the Author

Johannes Voelz is Professor of American Studies, Democracy, and Aesthetics at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany. In 2016, he was awarded a Heisenberg-Professorship by the German Research Foundation. He is the author of Transcendental Resistance: The New Americanists and Emerson's Challenge (2010) and has edited several books and special issues, among them 'Security and Liberalism' (Telos, 2015) and 'Chance, Risk, Security: Approaches to Uncertainty in American Literature' (Amerikastudien/American Studies, 2015).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: security and the uncertain worlds of fiction; 2. The virtue of uncertainty: securing the republic in Arthur Mervyn; 3. Harriet Jacobs's imagined community of insecurity; 4. Willa Cather and the security of radical contingency; 5. Cold War liberalism and Flannery O'Connor's 'The Displaced Person'; 6. In the future, toward death: finance capitalism and security in DeLillo's cosmopolis; Epilogue.

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