New Novels for Young Readers In/of the 1980s - Narrative Strategies and Presentation of the Novel's World

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GRIN Verlag, 2007 - 166 pages
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Diploma Thesis from the year 2001 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: Good, University of Vienna (Anglistics-American Studies), 135 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: When during the 1980s short novels like Jay McInerney's 'Bright Lights, Big City' (1984), Bret Easton Ellis' 'Less Than Zero' (1985), Tama Janowitz' 'Slaves of New York' (1986) or Michael Chabon's 'The Mysteries of Pittsburgh' (1988) became talked-about bestsellers in short succession, conservative critics were shocked. Their rejection of these novels was mainly grounded in the discrepancy between the expectations of traditional literary criticism and the new forms of expression these young authors used. The referential matrices of their novels are loaded with signs and codes of their decade; images and fictions spread by mass media have become a fixed part in the world of those novels. Traditional critics considered such references trite and superficial. It cannot be ignored, however, that popular culture found its way into contemporary literature and critics will have to get accustomed to the fact that in contemporary literature the referential horizon, which once was formed by the Bible, classical antiquity and the great works of world literature, is increasingly provided by popular culture as disseminated by the mass media. The fact that these authors were all very young and that they were presented and celebrated like pop stars was, for many critics, proof that pop industry had finally taken over the literary market and that authors would no longer be measured by their achievements as writers but by their celebrity status determined by media-coverage. They felt the end of serious literature was near. On the other hand, there were reviewers, whose praise of those novels and their authors was just as undifferentiated as their denunciations by other
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Jay McInerney
22
Bret Easton Ellis
71
Copyright

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Page 89 - They require that the personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.
Page 66 - I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity : the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of re-action, the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind.
Page 64 - Reasonable people can disagree on the proper interpretation of a particular set of "facts" : Facts are simple and facts are straight Facts are lazy and facts are late Facts all come with points of view Facts won't do what I want them to.
Page 55 - You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy. You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head.
Page 89 - The characters in his books, by very dint of their lack of individuality in a homogenized society, cannot be "created", cannot be born as personalities in the old sense, because as Ellis suggests, personality in the manner of individuals can no longer exist. Ellis is describing a world where even the most extreme attempts at individuality are doomed because personality itself has become commodity. For Ellis's characters, and for ourselves, the shadow always falls between the person and the personality....
Page 64 - Facts are simple and facts are straight / Facts are lazy and facts are late / Facts all come with points of view / Facts don't do what I want them to / Facts just twist the truth around / Facts are living turned inside out / Facts are getting the best of them / Facts are nothing on the face of things / Facts don't stain the furniture / Facts go out and slam the door / Facts are written all over your face / Facts continue to change their shape.
Page 49 - You never stopped thinking of yourself as a writer biding his time in the Department of Factual Verification ... You went to parties with writers, cultivated a writerly persona. You wanted to be Dylan Thomas without the paunch, F. Scott Fitzgerald without the crack-up. You wanted to skip over the dull grind of actual creation.
Page 127 - Nothing is more singular about this generation than its addiction to music. This is the age of music and the states of soul that accompany it.
Page 125 - What's right? If you want something, you have the right to take it. If you want to do something, you have the right to do it.
Page 111 - I left, a woman had her throat slit and was thrown from a moving car in Venice; a series of fires raged out of control in Chatsworth, the work of an arsonist; a man in Encino killed his wife and two children. Four teenagers, none of whom I knew, died in a car accident on Pacific Coast Highway. Muriel was readmitted to Cedars-Sinai. A guy, nicknamed Conan, killed himself at a fraternity party at UCLA And I met Alana accidentally in The Beverly Center.

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