Written in pre-Covid times and much delayed in publication, my contribution on “Post-9/11 Narratives” has appeared in The Encyclopedia of American Fiction, 1980-2020, edited by Patrick O’Donnell, Stephen Burn, and Lesley Larkin. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2022. Chapter 160. 1079-87.
Conte Publishes Book on Post-9/11 Novels
Professor Joseph Conte has just published his third monograph, Transnational Politics in the Post-9/11 Novel. The book argues that the formal inventiveness of writers such as DeLillo, Eggers, Pynchon, Coetzee, Pamuk, and Hamid reflect the radical reorientation of global politics after 9/11.
Transnational Politics in the Post-9/11 Novel
Transnational Politics in the Post-9/11 Novel suggests that literature after September 11, 2001 reflects the shift from bilateral nation-state politics to the multilateralism of transnational politics. While much of the criticism regarding novels of 9/11 tends to approach these works through theories of personal and collective trauma, this book argues for the evolution of a post-9/11 novel that pursues a transversal approach to global conflicts that are unlikely to be resolved without diverse peoples willing to set aside sectarian interests. These novels embrace not only American writers such as Don DeLillo, Dave Eggers, Ken Kalfus, Thomas Pynchon, and Amy Waldman but also the countervailing perspectives of global novelists such as J. M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk, Mohsin Hamid, and Laila Halaby. These are not novels about terror(ism), nor do they seek comfort in the respectful cloak of national mourning. Rather, they are instances of the novel in terror, which recognizes that everything having been changed after 9/11, only the formally inventive presentation will suffice to acknowledge the event’s unpresentability and its shock to the political order.
New York and London: Routledge, 2020
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429280733
xv, 278 pp.
Trump Fiction: Essays on Donald Trump in Literature, Film, and Television
Edited by Stephen Hock
Joseph M. Conte, Clinton J. Craig, Caitlin R. Duffy, Shannon Finck, Susan Gilmore, Laura Gray-Rosendale, Ashleigh Hardin, Stephen Hock, Meredith James, Peter Kragh Jensen, Bruce Krajewski, Tim Lanzendörfer, William Magrino, David Markus, Jaclyn Partyka, Steven Rosendale, and William G. Welty
“A masterful example of contemporary cultural studies, Trump Fiction assembles an array of insightful scholars working at the cutting edge of their fields to offer timely analyses of the social, cultural, and political phenomenon of Trumpism. By examining Trump’s presence in a dizzying array of cultural artifacts from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, the collection offers an invaluable historicization of the present. It also lays crucial groundwork for emerging conversations about the defining cultural forms of the present by exploring contemporary cultural responses to Trump’s candidacy and presidency. Filled with smart observations and juicy tidbits, these essays promise to engage, inform, and ultimately reshape the way we understand where we’ve been and where we’re going.”
— Mitchum Huehls, University of California, Los Angeles
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Trump Fiction: Essays on Donald Trump in Literature, Film, and Television examines depictions of Donald Trump and his fictional avatars in literature, film, and television, including works that took up the subject of Trump before his successful presidential campaign (in terms that often uncannily prefigure his presidency) as well as those that have appeared since he took office. Covering a range of texts and approaches, the essays in this collection analyze the place Trump has assumed in literary and popular culture. By investigating how authors including Bret Easton Ellis, Amy Waldman, Thomas Pynchon, Howard Jacobson, Mark Doten, Olivia Laing, and Salman Rushdie, along with films and television programs like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Sesame Street, Sex and the City, Two Weeks Notice, Our Cartoon President, and Pose have approached and shaped the discourse surrounding Trump, the contributors collectively demonstrate the ways these cultural artifacts serve as sites through which the culture both resists and abets Trump and his rise to power.
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Stephen Hock is associate professor of English at Virginia Wesleyan University.
Hardback: ISBN 978-1-4985-9804-0 November 2019 Regular price: $95.00/£65.00 After discount: $66.50/£45.50 ebook: ISBN 978-1-4985-9805-7 November 2019 Regular price: $90.00/£60.00 After discount: $63.00/£44.10 *eBooks can only be ordered online.
My chapter, “The Deep Web of Conspiracies: Under the Shadow of Trump Tower in Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge,” appears in Trump Fiction: Essays on Donald Trump in Literature, Film, and Television, edited by Stephen Hock (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2019), 97-111.
I’m pleased to post the final schedule for the Symposium on “Cosmopolitanism and Globalization,” organized by Richard Cohen in the Department of Jewish Thought, with support from the Humanities Institute and the Baldy Center. All talks will be held in 508 O’Brian Hall on October 23-24.
University at Buffalo
Literature after September 11, 2001 reflects a shift from the provincial politics of nation-states to that of transnational politics—issues that require adjudication across national, geographic, cultural, linguistic, religious, and racial borders. In the epoch of globalization, these are conflicts that are unlikely to be resolved without the cooperation and understanding of diverse peoples willing to set aside sectarian interests. If the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought to a close an overt dichotomy in international politics and deprived Western writers of a reliable foil, the events of 9/11 not only redirected our “intelligence community” from counter-espionage to counter-terrorism but also compelled writers to attend to a multilateral political terrain. This new political paradigm is both transnational and asymmetrical. The system of global capitalism, for which the secular ideals of representative democracy are a thinly disguised “advance man,” contends with the emergent threat of a transnational theocracy that is resistant to the agnostic, graphical, and consumerist Western ideology.
We will read some works of fiction that directly represents the events of 9/11 and others that reflect changes in the political and cultural milieu in its aftermath. Don DeLillo has called this the “Age of Terror,” and in Falling Man (2007), he eschews documentary realism in favor of representing 9/11 through the cognitive and psychological trauma of a World Trade Center survivor whose recuperation is the beginning of a “counternarrative” to terrorism. Orhan Pamuk sets Snow (2004) in the village of Kars in far eastern Turkey, away from the multicultural city of Istanbul that links Europe and Asia, in order to foreground the tensions and resistance between Islam and Turkey’s secular state as girls, forbidden to wear head scarves to school, commit suicide. J. M. Coetzee, in Diary of a Bad Year (2007), fashions a multi-tracked narrative in which the author-surrogate Señor C. ventures a series of “strong opinions” on anarchism, terrorism, the state, Al Qaida, democracy and so on that question the purpose of writing in an ethically confused and disputatious world.
These and other works of contemporary fiction—including Ken Kalfus, A Disorder Peculiar to the Country (2006), Ian McEwan’s Saturday (2005), Amy Waldman’s The Submission (2011), and Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2008)—suggest that, rather than suffering from self-absorption and disaffection, innovative fictions have engaged global politics. As Pamuk contends, it is through novels that world citizens do their deepest thinking about themselves.
We’ll also screen films that present differing views of the role of state power in the transnational political drama, including Kathryn Bigelow, dir. Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Alain Brigand, prod. 11’09″01 September 11 (2002), and Errol Morris, dir. Standard Operating Procedure (2008).