By Samuel Cohen
During this daring booklet, Samuel Cohen asserts the literary and historic 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 Nineties novels and post-9/11 novels that discover the impression of the tip of the chilly struggle: 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 previous to a gift that's satirically partial to 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 top of background demanding situations us to think again those works in a brand new mild, providing clean, insightful readings of what are destined to be vintage works of literature. whilst, Cohen enters into the theoretical dialogue approximately postmodern old realizing. Throwing his hat within the ring with strength and magnificence, he confronts not just Francis Fukuyama’s triumphalist reaction to the autumn of the Soviet Union but additionally the opposite literary and political “end of heritage” claims placed forth by way of such theorists as Fredric Jameson and Walter Benn Michaels. In an easy, affecting variety, After the tip of background bargains us a brand new imaginative and prescient for the services and confines of latest fiction.
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Additional resources for After the End of History: American Fiction in the 1990s
In particular, he is said to have been involved in the making of the novel’s cover (Mxyzptlk). The dust jacket comes in two parts, a paper jacket and a transparent overlay. The paper jacket features the title, in an eighteenth-century–looking typeface, magnified and spread across the front and back. On the front of the transparent overlay are the more legibly sized author name and title running across the top and bottom. It is a distinctive design, but it may also serve a purpose other than marketing.
One important context for the story of this line, then, is the story of the Enlightenment. Pynchon’s telling of it is less celebratory than the traditional version and more nuanced than the usual revision. One way to think about Pynchon’s version is, conveniently, in terms of lines. The understanding of the Enlightenment that in the twentieth century came under attack saw the eighteenth century as the time, in Kant’s words, of “man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity,” as a time when reason reigned supreme, and when, as a result, civilization built up a great, improving head of steam called progress (54).
The relationship between these two is one element of Mason & Dixon that makes it new in Pynchon’s corpus. , 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).
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