By Samuel Cohen
During this daring booklet, Samuel Cohen asserts the literary and ancient value of the interval among the autumn of the Berlin wall and that of the dual Towers in manhattan. With clean readability, he examines six Nineteen Nineties novels and post-9/11 novels that discover the influence of the tip of the chilly warfare: Pynchon's Mason & Dixon, Roth's American Pastoral, Morrison's Paradise, O'Brien's within the Lake of the Woods, Didion's the very last thing He sought after, Eugenides's Middlesex, Lethem's castle of Solitude, and DeLillo's Underworld. Cohen emphasizes how those works reconnect the earlier to a gift that's satirically a fan of denying that connection. Exploring the methods principles approximately paradise and pastoral, distinction and exclusion, innocence and righteousness, triumph and trauma deform the tales americans inform themselves approximately their nation’s prior, After the tip of historical past demanding situations us to reassess those works in a brand new gentle, providing clean, insightful readings of what are destined to be vintage works of literature. even as, Cohen enters into the theoretical dialogue approximately postmodern ancient knowing. Throwing his hat within the ring with strength and elegance, he confronts not just Francis Fukuyama’s triumphalist reaction to the autumn of the Soviet Union but in addition the opposite literary and political “end of historical past” claims placed forth by way of such theorists as Fredric Jameson and Walter Benn Michaels. In a simple, affecting variety, After the tip of heritage bargains us a brand new imaginative and prescient for the services and confines of up to date fiction.
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Additional info for After the End of History: American Fiction in the 1990s
As he spins a picaresque historical tale in Mason & Dixon, Pynchon also tells a new, more hopeful story about America, emphasizing relation, connection, and possibility, a story he would not have told the same way before the end of the Cold War. At the center of this new story is the ampersand. Mason & Dixon is in many ways a novel about lines. It is the story of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, astronomer and surveyor, who from 1763 to 1767 were in charge of drawing and blazing the 233-mile latitudinal line dividing the Penns’ Pennsylvania and Lord Calvert’s Maryland, the line that later came to divide North from South, free states from slave.
1963) has the chevron, Gravity’s Rainbow has the parabola, and Mason & Dixon has the line. From the arc of the snowball to the Transit of Venus and the Solar Parallax to the equator Mason and Dixon cross in their travels to chart these celestial phenomena, the world of the novel is from its beginning crossed by these straight lines, curved along hemispheres or orbits. An important aspect of this crisscrossing in the novel is that the lines do not in one sense exist independently of the astronomers and surveyors who chart them and so, in effect, create them.
The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), Gravity’s Rainbow, and Vineland (1984) are not marked by the creation of and attention to fully rounded characters. ” This reviewer finds the absence of more typically novelistic characters 48 af ter enlightenment appropriate to the worlds their author creates in his fiction, worlds in which only mechanical men have a place: “In Pynchon’s world there is almost no trust, no human nurture, no mutual support, no family life” (Locke 12). This characterization of Pynchon’s fictional worlds is also generally accepted: though there is much humor in the novels and much attention to the prevalence of human indecency and unkindness, there is not much warmth.