Reminiscence and Re-creation in Contemporary American Fiction
The world reflected in post-modernist fiction is one of chance and randomness, devoid of historical intelligibility. Stacey Olster challenges this view by distinguishing American post-modernism--with respect to the views of historical processes that its practitioners share. Arguing that their experience of communism proved instrumental in shaping the historical perspective of novelists who began writing after World War II, Olster examines their change in perspective in the 1950s after historical events forced them to acknowledge the failure of the communist ideal in Russia. Focusing on Norman Mailer, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, Robert Coover, and E.L. Doctorow, Olster portrays the idiosyncratic--but consistent--model of history that each began to construct in his work in order to preserve the illusion of an ordered sense of time. The author defines the qualities the writers share that form a common sensibility: a vision of historical movement taking the shape of an open-ended spiral, a refusal to accept the inevitability of apocalypse, and a conscious return to the traditions of earlier American authors.
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American Fiction American Literature American writers apocalyptic artist atom authors becomes Bolshevik bomb characters Chimera communism Communist Contemporary Critical Essays Crying of Lot David death deﬁned deﬁnition difﬁcult E. L. Doctorow Ebenezer Edward Mendelson entropic fact ﬁction ﬁctional ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁrst Floating Opera George Giles Goat-Boy Gravity’s Rainbow Henry Adams hipster Imagination John Barth John Dos Passos Joseph Kennedy kind later letters Literary History lives looks Mailer’s Marx Marxism Maryland metaphor millennial Modern Moscow trials movement myth narrative Nation never Norman Mailer novel novelists Oedipa one’s paranoia Partisan Review Passos past political portray post-modern present Puritan realizes reﬂected Revolution Richard Robert Coover Rocket Rojack Russia scientiﬁc sense Signet-NAL signiﬁcance Slothrop Soviet speciﬁcally story Studies Thomas Pynchon tion trials Tristero truth turn twentieth century University Press Vietnam vision Weed Factor words York