Trauma, Postmodernism and the Aftermath of World War II

Trauma, Postmodernism and the Aftermath of World War II

by P. Crosthwaite

Paperback(1st ed. 2009)

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Trauma, Postmodernism and the Aftermath of World War II by P. Crosthwaite

The radical, 'postmodernist' waves of experimentation that swept Anglo-American fiction from the late 1960s constitute a delayed response to the upheavals of the Second World War, yet the legacy of the war barely figures in prevalent accounts of the postmodernist movement. As Paul Crosthwaite shows in this provocative book, to recognize the significance of the war in contemporary culture is to acknowledge that postmodernism, as a sensibility, aesthetic style, and mode of thought, must be entirely reconceived. Challenging dominant theorizations of the postmodern as depthless and dehistoricized, Crosthwaite demonstrates that postmodernism has not abandoned history but has rather reformulated it in terms of trauma, trauma that is traceable, time and again, to the catastrophes of the 1940s. The book stages a revealing confrontation between influential theories of trauma and postmodernism and offers innovative close readings of key texts by Virginia Woolf, Thomas Pynchon, Michael Moorcock, J.G. Ballard, Richard Powers, and Ian McEwan.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781349300914
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication date: 01/29/2009
Edition description: 1st ed. 2009
Pages: 222
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.02(d)

About the Author

PAUL CROSTHWAITE is Lecturer in English at Cardiff University, UK.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vi

Introduction 1

1 War, Trauma, Postmodernism 15

2 Gravity's Rainbow and Traumatic Models of History 45

3 'A Secret Code of Pain and Memory': Traumatic Repetition in the Fiction of J.G. Ballard 76

4 Total War and the English Stream-of-Consciousness Novel: From Mrs Dalloway to Mother London 115

5 Their Fathers' War: Negotiating the Legacy of World War II in Prisoner's Dilemma and Atonement 145

Conclusion: Writing/Reading World War II After 9/11 175

Notes 182

Select Bibliography 213

Index 219

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