By Emily Horton (auth.)
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Extra info for Contemporary Crisis Fictions: Affect and Ethics in the Modern British Novel
Nevertheless, I would concede that this type of writing does suggest a different impetus from earlier fiction, where the emphasis is placed as much on the search for knowledge and ethical understanding, and on the project of reassessment, as it is on exploring consciousness in new and innovative ways. In this sense, disclosure, or in any case, self- and ethical examination, is critical here. Even so, attention should indeed be given to certain stylistic innovations in these writers, for after all, these writers are renowned for their distinctive narrative voices: Swift in relation to melancholy, maudlin, and often middle-aged male narrators, reduced by unexpected circumstance to crisis and anxiety; McEwan with respect to unease, calamity and paranoia within the narrative voice, and also a deft use of irony and ambiguity to leave the reader uncertain about the authority of the narrator as well as about possibilities for resolution or consolation; and Ishiguro in relation to narrative awkwardness, indirectness and obliquity, as his narrators manipulate established social and cultural discourses to disguise and protect their own self conceptions and to present themselves as respected cultural representatives.
Nevertheless, rather than establishing trauma theory (as Craps does) as an overarching theoretical framework, my reading starts from the texts themselves, and their depictions of crisis, identifying history as a prominent discourse which runs throughout Swift’s work and which shapes his response to modern global contingency. Indeed, more than simply exploring history, what I find moving in Swift is his attempt to weigh up recent historical changes, for example, in the Falklands, Thatcher’s nuclear politics, the IRA bombings, or more recently the large-scale violence and death of the Balkans War in The Light of Day, or the Iraq War in Wish You Were Here.
One other obvious exception, were I to include him among these writers, would be Amis, whose stylistic exuberance in many ways defines his writing. However, I shall explain why I reject this classification of Constructing a New Genre 37 Amis as a contemporary crisis fiction writer below. Nevertheless, I would concede that this type of writing does suggest a different impetus from earlier fiction, where the emphasis is placed as much on the search for knowledge and ethical understanding, and on the project of reassessment, as it is on exploring consciousness in new and innovative ways.
Contemporary Crisis Fictions: Affect and Ethics in the Modern British Novel by Emily Horton (auth.)