Bio: Bonnie McLean is an academic researcher. The author has contributed to research in topic(s): Neoliberalism (international relations) & Consumerism. The author has an hindex of 1, co-authored 1 publication(s) receiving 20 citation(s).
01 Jan 2015
TL;DR: McLean as discussed by the authors argues that the novel of manners, while sometimes considered a moribund genre, presents itself as a genre relevant to contemporary criticism of social change from consensus politics to privatization both at governmental and domestic levels.
Abstract: A SINGLE MAN OF GOOD FORTUNE: POSTMODERN IDENTITIES AND CONSUMERISMIN THE NEW NOVEL OF MANNERS Bonnie McLean, B.A., M.A. Marquette University, 2015 In my dissertation, I argue that the novel of manners, while sometimes considered a moribund genre, presents itself as a genre relevant to contemporary criticism of social change from consensus politics to privatization both at governmental and domestic levels. I establish both key terms, cultural and theoretical trends, and define the novel of manners in context as a historical genre and a contemporary one. I further explore the novel of manners as a commentary on social and moral problems, particularly in tensions between social morality and individual morality that emerge when manners break down, a concept originally highlighted by Henry James. I interrogate the interplay between nostalgia, manners, and national identity, highlighting the recreation of moribund social and moral values as a means of exerting authority over the family unit and generating profit out of national heritage. Finally, I highlight the means by which literary texts cast consumerism as literal and figurative pornography that transforms the citizen into a consumer. I specifically examine the breakdown of manners through scenes of pornography and material consumption that illustrate moral depravity at the individual and national levels. The seven texts selected for my study in the new novels of manners—Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia (1990), Jeffery Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot (2011), Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty (2004), Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day (1989), Ian McEwan’s The Child in Time (1987), Martin Amis’s Money (1984), and Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho (1991)—engage with neoliberalism and its social effects on individuals. Because citizens were redefined as consumers during the 1980s in both the United States and Britain, I contend that the novelists and novels in my study formulate a critique of social amorality in the same way Henry James’s literary criticism established in the novel of manners’ early study: in viewing the domestic as a politicized space, we can better understand the tensions between social morality and individual morality when the manners of a society break down in public or private spaces.
07 Nov 2016
01 Jan 2016
01 Jan 1973-American Literature
TL;DR: The Cambridge Introduction to Modern British Fiction as discussed by the authors provides an excellent starting point for readers seeking to gain an overview of British fiction written during the second half of the twentieth century, with a focus on contemporary British fiction.
Abstract: Head, Dominic. The Cambridge Introduction to Modern British Fiction, 19502000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. viii + 307 pp. $65.00 cloth; $22.00 paper. This well-organized and -written study constitutes an excellent starting place for readers seeking to gain an overview of British fiction written during the second half of the twentieth century. Treating more than 100 novelists and 200 individual works, the book covers both key exemplars of and broad tendencies within postwar British fiction, anchoring its discussion within surrounding sociocultural developments. Indeed, for Dominic Head, who adapts Paul Ricoeur's theory of mimesis as a (multiphased) process of representation rather than imitation, the relation between fictional worlds and social contexts is synergistic, or mutually determinative. Readers draw on aspects of their experience to make sense of fictional texts that, reciprocally, help mold their sense of what is or could be the case in the world at large. In this respect, the dichotomy between "realism" and "experimentalism" is spurious: all texts at once ground themselves within and impinge back upon what interpreters assume to be real. The author asserts, too, that this dialectical relation between fiction and experience affords a framework for understanding the social and historical role of postwar British fiction. Drawing on the philosophical and novelistic work of Iris Murdoch in the final pages of the book to bolster his argument, Head suggests that in an era in which once-dominant religious and political traditions no longer held sway, fiction came to be a powerful vehicle for socioethical reflection. Chapter 1, "The State and the Novel," explores how an increasing sense of social atomization affected representations of political life in the postwar British novel. Here Head argues that, during the period in question, the political novel of public life gave way to novels concentrating on isolated individual lives. Fictions discussed in this chapter range from novels centering around the period immediately following the war, such as Rose Macaulay's The World My Wilderness (1950) and Pamela Hansford Johnson's The Humbler Creation (1959), to novels written during the social revolution of the 1960s and early 70s, such as Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange ( 1962) and Piers Paul Read's A Married Man (1979), to novels intimating full-scale social collapse, such as Hilary Mantel's Every Day is Mother's Day (1985). Chapter 2, "Class and Social Change," discusses tensions between economic and ideological models of class status, exploring how the waning of class consciousness disrupts representations of working-class as well as middle-class experience. The chapter progresses from class-conscious fictions written in the context of what came to be called "The Movement" in the 195Os, such as Kinglsey Amis' s Lucky Jim (1954), to the grittily realistic depictions of working-class life in works by such Angry Young Men as John Braine and Alan Sillitoe, to the portrayal of the equivocal consequences of class mobility in the novels of David Storey, to novels exploring the perpetually disenfranchised underclass that emerged during the 1980s and 90s, such as Li vi Michaels's Under a Thin Moon (1992), to Penelope Lively's premise, in Spiderweb (1998), that the very notion of class has become irrelevant. …