You are on page 1of 16






General Fdlto?






xi W1


Contents I

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, So Paulo, Delhi, Tokyo. Mexico City Cambridge University Press The Edinhorgh Building, Cambridge CR2



Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York Information on this title: 9780521899079 Cambridge University Press

List of illustrations page xii List of tables xiii List of contributors xiv Acknowledgments xxiv Note on the text xxvi

I .5

General introduction

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.
First published


INVENTING THE AMERICAN NOVEL introduction: inventing the American novel


Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge


A catalogue record fir this publication is available thorn the British Lihriny Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication data

Transatlantic currents and the invention of the American novel



The Cambridge history of the American novel Leonard Cassuto, general editor : Clare Virginia Ehy, associate editor : Benjamin Reiss, associate editor. p. ens. ISBN 978O52t-899079 (hardback) American fiction History and criticism. I, Cassuto, Leonard, 960 II. Title. 1.C36 7 PS3 son 8x .0o9dc22
I5BN 9780-52I-899O7-9

2 Susanna Rowson, Hannah Webster Foster, and the seduction novel in the early IfS 37



C 3

Charles Brockden Brown and the novels of the early republic




Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URL5 fAr extemai or third-party Intemet svehsites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


The novel in the antebellum book market



A 55 5





5 American land, American landscape, American novels





and the

idea of

the Indian

Introduction: realism, protest, accommodation








17 Realism and radicalism: the school of 1-lowells




Hawthorne and the aesthetics of American romance



James, pragmatism. and the realist ideal



Melville and the novel of the sea



19 Theories of the American novel in the age of realism



so Religion and the

nineteenth-century American novel



The novel in postbellum print culture




Manhood and the early American novel




Twain, class, and the Gilded Age




Sentimentalism CINDY WEINSTEIN



Dreiser and the city



Supernatural novels EL IZA BETH TO U NC




of civic protest




Imagining the South


24 Novels of American business, industry, and consumerism






15 Stowe, race, and the antebellum American novel






and the

immigrant novel



The early African American novel




Cather and the regional imagination




Wharton, marriage, and the New








The postbellum race novel




African American novel after Reconstruction BARBARA McCASKILL




39 Philosophy and the American novel



40 Steinbeck and the proletarian novel





rise of naturalism

41 The novel, mass culture, mass media









Wright, Hurston, and the direction of the African American novel





Imperialism, Orientalism, and empire RUSS CASTRONOVO


Ellison and Baldwin: aesthetics, activism, and the social order





hemispheric novel in


postrevolutionary era



Religion and the

twentieth-century American novel AMY HUNGERFORD





womans novel beyond sentimentalism ELIZABETH NOLAN



and the Southem novel




Dime novels

and the

rise of massmarket genres





Law and the

American novel


600 47



Readers and reading groups


publishing and the


rise of








novel of crime, mystery,





MODERNISM AND BEYOND Introduction: modernism and beyond




US novels and US





Stein, Hemingway, and American modernisms



Science fiction



The Great Gatsby and the




Female genre fiction in


twentieth century






55 ii


861 63



Children s novels

The use of the Asian American novel



The American noel and the rise of the suburbs




Moirison and the post cnil rights Jncan rnerican nosel



The Jewish great American novel




Hi. mispheric


nc in nose is


RODR1( 0 L iSO


The Beats and the 196os




The isorldmg of the irnericin noici




Literary femimsms



Thc Native American fradition




57 Reimagining genders and




Contemporary ecofiction




Graphic novels



Introduction ontenipoI in formations BENJAMIN REISS 9)0

o Tis cnticth and tss mt.

first centuls

lite i

irs eoniITiuflities



58 Postmodern novels


\ histor of thc furuit of nii run i




The nonfiction

nos ci




nblwg1a; In IlidtS



ho Disabih and the American nosel







and the minority model

the neoliberal novel



The American borderlands novel




Postmodern novels

Postmodern novels
I liSt I Is.


(111 UtS


p1 )sttl1(

(dcliii sm

the n nil pt ol thi post 0,lrwI 51 o tht Its etttteth c ntUl\ tihoui qut lii in lw most Iti0i t,(nt 4 a,ini,ntt itt iorV br a nodern cieR nd eullu re As a \I, d ((I dt bites hoot till iiip liFt 1 bolei 1(111 oi sItsUS\lOliS iii ii .itted 0(111 111111 (sopit\ LIOCII (CI nd iIWT,(iUIC 1th all the 55 15 to 001 iii ills it 1w ii 101 ((Ti 11 (kit lIt 111115 p 1 ii IlijI I Ill (011, its ii pl ic,i i( 1 5 till h 1 Ill Ill 5 fl iii I 1 1110111k 111(1 tnt SI liii 1it \ ni LI ill
the List


pastiche also formed part of this new style, as the playful Chippendale finish atop Philip Johnsons AT&T Building (1984) in New York demonstrated. 2 Painters and sculptors similarly turned away from modernist high-cultural autonomy and abstraction toward popular culture (as in the works of Andy \Aarhoi or Claes Oldenburg>, or toward the reintroduction of narrative structures and historical elements (as in many of Robert Rauschenbergs patntnlgs}, But hetion and photography, at the same moment, began to prefer anti realist and anti-narrative styles, while other art forms such as film, theater, dance, and poetry included both realism and anti-realism, narrative and its fragmentation, According to Bertens,
if there is a common denominator to all these postmodernisms, it is that of a in teplesenlation: a deeply felt loss offai h in our ability to represent the real, in the ssidest sense. No matter svhethei they are aesthetic, epistemo loical, moral, or pohncal In nature, the representations that we used to rely on can no longer he taken br granted.

refeiTed to the aesthetic modernisms of the early twentieth century as much as they did to the broader philosophical issues of Enlightenment modernity. But, as theorists such as Hans Bertens, Steven Connor, and Steven Izenour have lucidly demonstrated, the implications of the postmodem moment difffr wtdelv in different artistic practices. In architecture, local, vernacular, and pop-cultural elements of the kind described by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown emerged as a new formal idiom radically different from the functionalism of Bauhaus and intemational-Style architecture. Historical

Ii Ills


(lot lleies%,llilt

1 JiIIii Potniodi

Oils 0 St.I5 m,tIlUlii SI 11)1 ii,i



iL In 1111115. ridiculed lis some d tilt epoonle ol p lintlessit it iane intl ns 0111k d ,ie,idemit tsm md is otheis a sill ns in tot h Ipelt ss nitehec tua betuddietni ni Ii the toncept nosed to has e considlr,(hlt 1,t\ ll1 iuI\\ e It Slote ot ski Ii (ti,klss IrtTLiues. dismisjis, .ntd ni_es. It is nndouhiedls bec .iuse ii did pois ide ,i tonS einent It niodei nov. ahi nfl titi Ii iJL sh (tilt iiid 101 tt ide ijiioiio dehati ti \\Oild\\d( iii 1,11111 11(501 lIHjltttd (,IiusiloTts hIll Is sthti i 1 IIi(IIIII. sshi:hei 1111111 tInts i-, I ih iIohtii/fl I: III till
iil,(llV Hit ,I11IOL,S

h some


lot Ills Inc


1k anmi II




I tilght


hi as


l11 5 IilJt\

LII Otis






LI tdi I III (lIe eIltcttl\ (Ii tOnti ill i55,li\ 11)111 P I IIh.tacles tO it UL,I( ,Inti colonial mdt pendi nec. nd st hai oh tienee and tet hit Ilo\ h mid pLi of it a pluralist .ittd (loss tultul al ti Inte\t 01 ( oitt0eilni thi outs nd pi ii Ott ultu; ii. and tci a ss ide vfl,ets ot poineal. Ln st lcdt St cii- dehau d 5
s iss


51 001



idci n itiipltiit

Iii I

nell tlehales \\.ls 0th n




1(151 iphiiai. p ht
louts \\ele

al, and

i ,(liut,li ietaes iii





ltt LIII ii t clii ill 1 (01 lii pet teised to lie ut the t cliii tilt Ii Lentut htu ii tIft it hi :h 00111(0 ndointcd .tiafli oiscts (lion thin Iiiei,ttnI ccLini 10 ii dii tand hi I thu nit s hi htt td tin Ii mdii Ii lit ml otto n (lions hat .tIihtttttuiC. tlti 51511.11 1(15. IlItlilti, and ijhlt iii the 00115, i:s

This sense of a representational crisis explains why concerns about language, rhetoric, and figuration surface consistently across debates that in very differ ent ways engage with the question of how reality and facts are defined, accessed, and communicated in contemporary society. Many of the most important theortes of the postmodern engage with concepts of discourse, narrative, metaphorization and performance to explain fundamental struc tures of contemporary societies: jtirgen Habermass theory eif a crisis of legitimation that affects modern political, social, and scientific encepts and institutions: jean-l-rancois Lvotards outlme of a crisis of the metanarrative templates that had shaped Western thought since the Enlightenment: Jean Baudrillards postulation of a shift into a hyperreal culture of simulation in which apparent copies or imitations have lost their ties to authentic originals: Andreas Huyssens and FredricJamesons descriptions of a weakening sense of historicity both among artists and in Western cultures at large: Michel Foueaults and Jacques Laeans theories of selves constructed through


Postmodern novels

dtsc lurse: and Judith lutk is appri ach to endcred identity as a kind

pci ii irmanee. to name onfs a few of the most tnflucnual appn aches.


c en

motif that reappears acmss otherwisi \s ideix s ars ing bodies of thems cailins1 such pcispc ctiscs pOstifl()JeiflIsi hthliltts one of the idditionai contpiications of ih tcrtii \t one cs ci. as ss
if such issueS constitute .u hi

hasc Si.

ilie desiinatton postmodeinist can refr to a characteristic of at ii tv.ui ks lot the most pitt cleated iltet toue 10 1 5 Jflct\ of countries. Bitt philosophical per 5 tflOther level certain sets of postmodernsi theories and itsuai]\ hut 1101 amass, influenced 1w one of veial strain of spccti\c s I iench p islstrtlctui ahsm could md sscic hi ouflhi to bear on te\Is and ,irissorks not iiecessariJ associ ued a itii this period. winch justifies a title And finall postmimdernisi has often tin such as Pct;iisfi Iflislli t wc no e ut ccnt ci rs si leteti es he en ii sed as a term desert hi n pn ipe tAilS of I


and cult ines A




Iaiue nunibii of 1t1uoductiun,,vkl,intholousdedici1id otiosiniodern 1 sot hasc explotd these issues in detail. In th more spi cilic context of des cli ipntents in the late t\s mlii th centurs Ni irth \merican nosel. addiuonal compit \ttles arise, If postmi idernism mdi. cd ins oh ts fundamental changes in tin undc ist,mndiu of nam Urns e and historicus, 0111 55 oitid 11(101 ,iIIs c \pm ci it to tr,mnsloi itt the shape of fictional 0. us: hut lviss uil tin isli s and mlii c ath ssent\ list ci uturs. the n1eal1mns of the pluase p isinO dliii hciu in repeat dis simtftc ml urounds as It was Lised tO refer to thcrn,itic,iih html lot malls quite difhrcnt 0. pc s of noscls atid short stories As I ss ill sitoss to null-c dctai below. oc or dilinieni caiegoiie Durino the i postniodeiit nos cl fill liltO at least associated ss itli an c\treme intl r is. postiiodei nism ssas most c noifl iki i Intl ie ilmst is pe of on i atise 51 If ri ft icntial and oftc n openf rnetahcuofl. it hich iltc conditions and iruculauomts of testuahts it. ti take precedence 05cr the 005 cis is la:ion to us ( \tl,ltc\tli,iI icfetents. \letaflcuonal nosels tend to inSolsi arhttiar formal constounts stich as the omission of citiUn Ictk is : Jabotue tctwii eOibt ddniss md (uli. en thimc: espft it i 1 crimes to processes of ss inmfl, silO sIt Ilin. pmibhsliui and cad me tug: iogicalk coiuradicuirs piotimnes: ch,na.teis ci iuici md in 5 is Jisice,ard sshose identitims remain of principles of psych iloCicai p],isilitltls ttarmatots ainhigiu ius: mosaics of tim oat in. patuds jotI pastiche of other te\ts slime limes to the point of dow might pi ictiaits:n : lmguistic patchssorks of different iphies 5 styles: md mspci tittcfli ii 0. poi I )wuii thm later urns ,mml till 10505. loss L\ei. postmodci u Eu iii In ,IIsii began to include less c\letlml utt,ul no UIS utthtng concerned ss ith Out 5 histories fomgoticn oT ignoted h\ mainstream culture. ohs n those of women. immti.lnls. and racial or ethnic mtttortties,

Some of these novelists show an intense awareness of the constructedness of history and the blurry boundaries between history and fiction, hot they are far less committed to an anti-realist agenda. Instead, they carve out new fictional territory in between histories of oppression and the complex socio-cultural conditions of narrative and textua]itv, In a third wave of postmodernist novels, science fiction texts associated with the cvberpunk movement of the 1980s came to add another layer of resonance to the term. Combining their fascination with the cutting edge of digital technology with a deep investment in the oppositional socio-cultural stance of punk rockers, authors such as William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and Pat Cadigan reirnagined the near future under the rule of global computer networks, By and large conventionally realist in their narrative idiom, these tiovels nevertheless came to be perceived as quintessentially postmodern in their explorations of new virtual spaces and technologically reconfigured bodies,a Their persistent portrayals of a thoroughly globalized world in the economic and technological spheres prepared the way for the fourth wave of postmodcrnust novels, In the i99os and early aooos, an increasing number of svrtters theniatized globalization and its relation to modernity and postmod ernity in novels that combine elements of the earlier waves of postmodern narrative, from metafictional elements and the foregrounding of different gendered. national, racial, and ethnic communities to the emphasis on new technologies. But the deepening interest in hosv to tepresent global scenarios by means of innovative fictional tbrms also points to the weakening hold that the concept of postmodernisrn has on analyses of contemporary culture. Discussions about transnationalism, internationalism, and globalization, which took on increasing importance in the social sciences from the early lm)9os, and in the humanities from the mid- tqgos onward, continue to address ftindanuetttal questions about the political, social, economic. and cultural forms of modernity in the contemporary world. But their focus on issues of geopolitics, the rusk society, environmental crisis, the renewed importatAce of nationalisms and religious beliefs, and the definition of cultural identities in a global field of medta connections also marks shifts of emphasis that may well imply the obsolescence of the idea of the postmodern in the sense of the i97os and i98os, Crmtucism since the 198os has proposed a variety of useful perspectives on postmodern fictmon, To name only a few of the most influential, Christopher
f-ni a

history of ihe genre in its Science fiction. chapter 50.

concepnon ot

the human buds. see

Priscilla \\afd.



Postmodern novels
novels, the different perspectives share enough material to make it clear that all the characters do in fact experience the same basic reality. Postmodernist narrative strategies, by contrast, work to undermine the sense of a shared and coherent fictional universe in a variety of ways by exposing their own constructedness, or by violating conventions of narrative logic and causality, fur example. in so doing, they force readers to consider what constitutes the reality or plausibility of a narrative universe, how textual worlds are made and unmade, and by extension, how we construe the reality of the extratextual world. The underlying concern shaping narrative experimentation, in other words, is no longer the representation of the world refracted through a human mind and again through language, but ontological questions about the nature of textuality, observation, inference, coherence, and the real.' The emphasis on the figure of the artist and his (mostly his) development in novels by Thomas Mann, Marcel Proust, orJames Joyce had already begun to transform, in the 01405 and 195os, into more radical reconsiderations of the conditions of textuality and the materiality of print in the short stories of the Argentinian writerJorge Luis Borges, the iwiiveaux ronians of French novelists such as Alain Robbe-Grillet and Narhalie Sarraute, and the novels of Vladimir Nabokov. in one of his most famous short stories, La libreria de Babel [The Library of Babel, 5941 [, forges had imagined the entire universe consisting of a library that contains books with all possible words in all possible combina tions. Postmodernist writers took up this challenge of imagining the world as a game of linguistic and textual recomhinat-ions by adopting furmalist gener ative procedures that, by constraining selection and combination, gave rise to new novelistic forms. In this vein, Walter Abishs Alphabetical Africa (1974) follows strict rules as to which letters of the alphabet can appear in which book chapters. just as French novelist Georges Perecs novel La disparition (1969 entirely omits the letter c. \Villiam Burroughs. in Naked Lunch (1959). but particularly in The Sofi MacJune (1965), The Ticket That Exploded (1962). and Nova Express 1964), uses bits and pieces of previous texts (his own as well as other authors) cut up and reassembled into a new textual whole whose fractures and seams remain clearly visible and define the fictional text as a portal to other texts rather than a self-contained whole. Gilbert Sorrentinos Mulligan Stew (1978), going one better than Joyces Finnegans Wake (1939), consists of a patchwork of different generic and historical styles in a narrative with only marginal plot coherence, the whole preceded. in a self-deprecatory gesture, by reproductions of a whole set of publishers rejection letters. This shift of emphasis from the author or artist to the text also makes itself felt in the recurring concern of postmodernist artworks in general and novels

Butler and Brian McHale have analyzed the transformations of highmodernist aesthetic templates in postmodern narrative; Allan Thiher has linked postmodern narrative experiments to currents in twentieth-century language philosophy: Fredric Jameson, Margaret Rose. and the novelist Raymond Federman have theorized their forms of parody, pastiche, and intertextual quotation; Linda Hutcheon and Amy lilias have foregrounded the connections and disjunctures between postmodern fiction and the writing of history; and Mark McGurl has approached post-196os fiction (somewhat 7 more broadly understood) in its growing associations with the academy. will have occasion to refer to many of these theories here, but will focus them through a somewhat different, media-theoretical approach to postmodern fiction that surfaces in the work of Joseph Tabbi, Michael Wutz, N. Katherine 1layles, and Kathleen Fitzpatrick. One way of understanding the continuity of postmodern fiction across its very different articulations during the last halfcentury, I will argue, is to understand its narrative innovations as varying attempts to resituate print narrative in a changing media landscape increasingly dominated by the moving image and by digitization. Metafiction and its transformations In the 196os and 1970s, postmodernist fiction meant above all the highly selfreferential and metafictional work of writers who took to their logical extreme modernist and avant-garde techniques of literary experimentation. in the process displaying a new awareness of the materiality of print and its functions. Indeed, the first wave of postrnodernist fiction was accompanied by a host of publications pronouncing dire warnings about the death of the novel and the demise of reading in the age of film and especially television: Leslie Fiedler, Susan Sontag, Louis Rubin, and John Barth, for example, all declared themselves pessimistic about the novels possibilities for cultural survival. In this context of conscious self-scrutiny, the first wave of postmodernist fiction shifts from what Brian McHale has called the epistemological dominant of high-modernist fiction to an ontological orientation designed to explore the nature of textuality and the cognitive making and unmaking of narrative worlds. Modernist fiction such as that of Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf or William Faulkner, McHale suggests, seeks to explore the real through its varied perceptions, memories, anticipations, and translations into story by a variety of characters. The resulting juxtaposition of different perspectives highlights how realit is refracted through individual minds without completely destabilizing its facwality: in most modernist



Postmodern novels bibliography. In texts such as these, the attention to the development of the artist is replaced by the metafictional focus on the text itself with the author just another one of the fictions produced by the text: in Barths Dunyazadiad and Coleman Dowells Island People (1976), the authors themselves appear as characters called up or written into existence by other characters. Quite obviously, in texts that are either patchworks of narrative styles or obvious rewritings of earlier texts, the narrative voice loses much of the authority and central structural function it still possessed in the architecture of high-modernist novels. Fictional characters become similarly modular, composite, or indeterminate in metaflction. The characters of Ronald Sukenicks Out (1973), for example, change their names, appearance, and even gender from chapter to chapter, to the point where it is difficult to say whether they are indeed the same characters: and even in Sukenicks late and most autobiographical novel, Mosaic Man (1998), the first-person protagonist turns out to be more of a patchwork of different literary prototypes and discourses (as the title with its double allusion to the form of the mosaic and to the protagonists Jewish origins already suggests) than a realistically conceived character. The implausible names and even more implausible psychologies of many of Thomas Pynchons characters have been commented on in detail; in one of the most influential novels in the postmodernist canon. Gravitys Rainbow 1973), the protagonist, Tyrone Slothrop. not only goes through a series of disgtuses and assumed identities but gradually becomes unrecogniz able to his friends and in the end simply disperses into the landscape. Other characters in Gravitys Rainbow as well as in Pynchons earlier novels V. (i96) and The Crying of Lot (1965) are constituted and arranged in pattems of correspondence and contradiction with each other that seem to obey an underlying structural principle more than any imperative of psychological realism. Novels such as these translate into fictional form concerns about the coherence and construct edness of human identity that have been articulated in different ways by theorists such as Lacan, Foucault, and Butler, and thereby form part of the dialogue between the American novel and continental philosophy explored in greater detail by Robert Chodat in this volume.b The same skepticism toward what is usually conceived to be the real makes itself felt in some kinds of postmodem plots. The parallax juxtapositions of different memories or perceptions of reality in the novels of such authors as Joseph Conrad, William Faulkner. or Virginia Woolf give way in many postmodernist texts of the 196os and 19705 to juxtapositions of plotlines so
h Robert Chodai, Philosophy and thern ,nerean novel, chapter

in particular with issues of originality, imitation, and quotation. Donald Barthelmes novel Snow White (1967). for example, humorously retells the well-known fairy tale as a i96os counterculture story of a woman who routinely has sex in the shower with the seven dwarves. Her prince, Paul, in the meantime, meditates self-consciously on his blue blood and the role he is expected to take, enters a monastery, and travels around the world before setting up an elaborate surveillance system for Snow White and finally drinking the poison destined for her. In a similar vein, Dunyazadiad (1972), one of three novellas by John Barth that reappropriate some of the most time-honored myths in the Western canon, retells the iooi Nights from the viewpoint of Sheherazades younger sister, Dunyazade Sheherazade, it turns out, quickly runs out of stories and is incapable of making up any others until she succeeds, by pure chance, in conjuring up a genie from the twentieth century transparently Barth himself f-Ic is only too delighted to report to her what stories she is supposed to tell according to the text of the iow Nights. a twist that locks the two authors into a circuit of transmission in which no originality is possible. In a very different narrative idiom, many of Kathy Ackers novels reappropriate male pomographic discourse frr feminist pur poses. but at the same time allude to some of the classics ofWestern literature, from Miguel de Cervantes (in her Don Quixote, 1986( and Charles Dickens (in her Great Expectations, 1983) to her contemporary \Villiam Gibson, whose cyberpunk novel Neuromancer (1984) she quite ostentatiously rewrites at the beginning of The Empire of the Senseless (1988). In novels such as these, as Raymond Federman programmatically declared in his essay, Plagiarism as Imagination, the point is precisely not any pretense of authorial originality (for many postmodernists a post-Romantic myth in the first place), but the creative reappropriation of already existing texts and discourses. In another variant of texts that open out on other texts rather than on references to the real world, some postmodernist novels are in fact texts about other texts which the reader may or may not get to see. Charles Kinbote, the protagonist of Nabokovs Pale Fire (1962), engages in an extended experiment of reading when he appends to the long poem Pale Fire a critical and interpretive apparatus that recasts it as the story of his own life. In a somewhat different vein, Federmans Double or Nothing: A Real Fictitious Discourse (1971) tells the story of a writer who locks himself up to write a novel, with every page of the resulting metanovel typographically configured in a different way, and Ishmael Reeds MumboJumho (1972( revolves around the search for a fragmented and dispersed piece of scripture that is definitively lost by the end, in a novel supplemented with photos, handwritten letters, and a
. --




Postmodern novels adopts a partly allegorical and partly satirical mode to explore the complex relationship between facts, their political and journalistic transformations, and the role fiction might play in representing them, Linda Hutcheon has coined the term historiographic metafiction to describe such novelistic engage ments with history that do not fit easily into the established genre of the historical novel, in that history is questioned in terms of its textual construct edness even as its facts are invoked. 0 If such metafictional experiments respond to broad cultural changes in the experience of temporality, causality, and historicity, as a number of studies have suggested, they also reflect on the altered status of literary narrative in the changing mediascape of the I96os. One of the characters in Barths epistolary novel LETTERS (5979) remarks that [njowadays the [novel] is so fallen into obscure pretension on the one hand and cynical commercialism on the other, and so undermined at its popular base by television, that to hear a young person declare that his or her ambition is to be a capital-W Writer strikes me as anachronistical, quixotic, as who should aspire in i369 to be a Barnum & Bailey acrobat, a dirigible pilot, or the Rembrandt of the stereopticon. The fear that the novel and perhaps, literature more broadly might become obsolete in the age of film, television, and the computer, which is palpable in these as well as many other statements surrounding the alleged death of the novel, is, however, less relevant for a historical account of postmodem fiction than the fact that Barth invokes pressure fiom other media as one significant cause for changes in the structure of fiction: metafiction, in his argument, arises out of an awareness of the altered status of the novel. If as Mark 5 McGurl argues in this volume, American novels from the 19T05 onward have at times reflected on their relationship to television and the mass culture it represents, novelists after 1960 increasingly translate this engagement into novelistic form itselE While it would no doubt be reductive to explain the many facets of first-wave postmodernism exclusively by reference to the altered media ecology that begins to unfold with the rise of television in the 1950s, it is obvious that a new consciousness of the novel as printed text does inform many fictional experiments that involve novels-within-novels, typographical configurations, and the integration of visual material such as photographs, paintings, and handwritten letters into the narrative, In addition, at a thematic level, the predicament of novel writers and readers, as well as the presence of television sets, films, and computers often form a crucial part of

incompatible with each other that they can no longer be construed as forming part of a consistent narrative universe. Again, Borges had anticipated such fictions in his short story FijardIn de senderos que se hifurcan [The Garden of Forking Paths, 1941. which proposed a labyrinthine vision of real and textual temporalities constantly bifurcating into alternative universes. Barth took up this vision in his seminal essay The Literature of Exhaustion (T967) and the title story of his collection Lost in the Funhouse: Fiction for Tape, Print, Live Voice (1968), as did French novelist Alain Robbe-Grillet in a whole range of novels published in the 1960s and 1970S that revolve around repeated scenes just dissimilar enough from each other that they might in fact not be repeti tions but different scenes. But the idea that narrative plots might no longer add up to any coherent presentation of reality also haunts postmodernist texts in other forms. One of the characters in Clarence Majors Reflex and Bone Structure (1975), for example, is fbund murdered in her apartment in Harlem, but later dies in a plane crash on her way to a concert in Russia. in a contradiction the novel leaves deliberately unresolved. Almost all of the protagonists of Philip K. Dicks science fiction novels, from Martian Time Slip (1964) and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965) to I-low My Tears, The Policeman Said (1974) and VALES (5980), suffer from serious ruptures in their experience of reality that seem at first induced by schizophrenia or drugs, but in the end remain inexplicable both to them and the reader. Some postmodernist texts, especially from the 19705, take such reflections on coherence and the real, along with the high-modernist interest in the workings of memory and temporality, one step further by reflecting in a highly self-referential fashion on American history. Reeds Mumbo jumbo, Pvnchons Gravitys Rainbow and Robert Coovers The Public Burning (1977). for example, all reflect on the politics of the T950s, l9oos. and the Nixon era through a combination of facts and fictional events and characters, and a profusion of plots and narrative modes whose satirical edge can never be quite disentangled from their realism. Reed reflects on the Civil Rights Movement through a narrative ostensibly set in the 1920S, but ends up rewriting all of Western history from Ancient Egypt to the Middle Ages and twentieth-century America as a recurring conflict between factions that are ultimately distinct mainly by virtue of their race. Pynchon situates Gravitys Rainbow in a post.World War II Germany that at times resembles the 1960S USA more than 1940s Europe so as to consider whether the counterculture really did open up any new paths fur American culture or simpiy reconfirmed already existing political tendencies. Coover, revisiting the Cold War, the 1958 execution ofJulius and Ethel Rosenberg, and Nixons gradual ascent to power.

c Mark McCurl, the novel, mass culture, mass media, chapter





Postrnodern novels Michel Foucault, postmodernism in the novel seemed to shift from metafiction to identity politics. But to accept such a dichotomy would be to ignore the important con tinuities between first- and second-wave postmodem fiction. Identity pol itics formed part of the postmodernist project insofar as it sought to rethink and renarrativize Enlightenment notions of selL individuality, and subjecthood that had implicitly been based on white, heterosexual European mascu linity. That so many of the thinkers and writers involved in this debate were women of color was not accidental, since their particular critique of patriarchy often highlighted at the same time sonic of the limitations of first-wave, mostly white, middle-class and First-World feminism. In important ways, therefore, the cutting-edge novelists of the 19805 participated in and continued the postmodemist critique of Enlightenment modernity even when they adopted realist narrative idioms despised by the earlier generation of postmodemists. Equating ,p6os postmodernisni with experimental anti-realisms and the literary identity politics of the 197os and ip8os with a return to realism also misstates the case from a narratological perspective. African American writers such as William Demby, Clarence Major. and lshmael Reed had already demonstrated in the first wave of postmodernist fiction that an interest in questions of racial equality and in the real living conditions of blacks in the United States, for example. does not require reliance on conventionally understood realism. On the contrary, fragmented narrative structures and discontinuous characters can forcefully highlight the contradictions and para doxes of discrimination and disenfranchisement and foreground the con structed and shifting nature of racial and ethnic distinctions. Similarly, the early work of Kathy Acker, Marguerite Youngs monumental Miss MacIntosh, Mv Darling i1965), Barbara Guests Seeking Air (1977), and the work of women writers outside the USA Christine Brooke-Roses Between (1968). Brigid Brophys In Lransit (s9o). or Monique Wittigs Les guerrilleres (Women Warriors, 1969) had pointed the way toward articulations of feminism in distinctly anti-realist narrative idioms. For these reasons, 198os women and minority novelists who view the novel as a medium for articulating alternative identities and histories, precisely because they mistrust dominant forms of narrative, often do not return to realism in either its nineteenth-century or its high-moderrnst guise, but instead selectively integrate some of the metafic tional and anti-representational strategies of earlier postmodemists. Leslie Marmon Silkos The Storyteller (1981). fur example, strains conventional genre definitions through its eclectic mix of prose and poetry, its episodic

novels from the 1950S onward, from the B-movies in William Burroughss Naked Lunch and Jerzy Kosinskis illiterate, TV-watching protagonist in Being There (1970) all the way to the televisions and computers that figure prom inently in the novels of Pynchon, Don DeLillo, and Richard Powers. In a letter to the author-in-the-text, one of the characters of Barths LETTERS suggests to him that you do not yourself take with much seriousness those Death-of-the-Novel or End-of-Letters chaps. you do take seriously the climate to that takes such questions seriously; you exploit that apocalyptic climate reinspect the origins of narrative fiction in the oral tradition. While in Barth, this turn to the oral tradition manifests itself in rewritings of Greek myth and Homeric epic, it assumes a different shape in many of the novels by women and minority writers who came to be associated with the label of postrnodemism from the 1970S onward. Many of the novels frequently classified as postmodern from the 19705 and I9Sos, by such authors as Bharati Mukhetjee, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Amy Tan, Leslie Marmon Silko, Sandra Cisneros, and Gloria Anzaldtla highlight histories that the dominant culture had forgotten or deliberately ignored stories of women, of immigrants. of racial and ethnic minorities, of colonized peoples, and of the gay underground. The most innovative fictions in this second wave seemed to oppose metafictional seif-referentiality in that they return to more or less realist modes of nairatson. with an emphasis on narrative voice and plausible character construction, wellformed if often open-ended plots, an interest in oral storytelling rather than the materialities of print, and an eagerness to convey predsely the facts and realities of lives not earlier considered worthy of literature. The seriousness and urgency of the political issues involved, many of them the great social issues of the IQ6os seemed women s emancipation, civil rights, decolonization and 197os difficult to square with the playful, text-oriented and self-referential techniques of postmodemist novels of the 196os and 1970s. In quite a few accounts of the contemporary novel, therefore, these writers come to represent a highly political, oppositional postmodemism dominated by women and minority writers that contrasts with the textual self-absorptions of the mostly white and male writers of first-wave postmodemism. just as academic postmodemism gradually shifted from textually dominated poststructuralism to the psycho analytically and historically inflected postsrrucruralisms of Jacques Lacan and
. . .
. .

d The modalities of these stones are explored in more detail in essays by \Valter Elenn Michacis Model minorities and the minority model -the neoliberal novel. chapter i Ranin Saldivar The American Borderlands novel, chapter 621, Susan Koshy The rise of the Asian American novel, chapter Es), and Elizabeth Freeman Reinsaglning genders and sexualities, chapter 57).






Postmodern novels confrontation with other media, may well continue to invent new uses for itself Robert Coover, in this volume, sees fiction being inexorably pulled toward the new, interactive modes of computer games and immersive virtual realities. But some dimensions of postmodern fiction suggest that the novel

explorations of Laguna Pueblo myth and present-day Native American encounters with racial discrimination, and its inclusion of photographs

whose function is often something other than documentary, inciting the reader to reflect on the very nature of realism. Gloria Anzaldas Borderlands/La Frontera (1987) similarly defies genre expectations as it blends historiography with autobiography and poetry. Toni Morrisons Beloved (1987) and Maxine Hong Kingstons The Woman Warrior (1976) include important elements of the supernatural whose relation to the real histories these novels tell invites questions about the foundations of historical storytelling. While texts such as these undoubtedly differ fundamentally from the elabo rate textual games of Reed or Pynchon, they nevertheless share with them a deep-seated wariness of established historical narratives and a high degree of self-referentiality in their attempts to create new templates. As hinted in the earlier quotation from Barths LETTERS, the prominence of oral storytelling in many of the postmodernist novels of the 19 and 198os os 1 might also be understood as an alternative way of resituating the novel in a visually dominated media context. When omnipresent visual media such as television, film, and the computer dominate, the novel stages more unmedi ated, face-to-face storytelling as a means of re-estahhshing community and the connection with the past. Oral storytelling and oral traditions figure prom inently in Native American and Asian American novels of the 19705 and 198os most obviously as a way of laying claim to ignored and oppressed cultural legacies, but also, I would argue. as a way of regrounding the novel as a medium for perpetuating oral narratives that might otherwise be lost. Without question, this ambition leads to media-theoretical paradoxes and textual play in many ways similar to those of the metafictionalists. In a short story by Anishinaabe novelist Gerald Vizenor entitled Shadows (1992, for example. the university-educated Native American narrator encounters an old storyteller of his tribe who shares some of her oral traditions with him on the condition that he never put them in print a condition the narrator violates by publishing the short story we read .Such tensions between oral and printed storytelling and the cultural conventions that surround them inform a wide range of Native American, Chicano, and Asian American novels. As Sean Kicummah Teuton suggests in his chapter on the Native American novel in this volume, many of these texts seek to engage with colonialism and the power of oral traditions to resist it. c The tension between oral and written narrative that often surfaces in this context suggests that the novel, in its
e Sean Kicurnmah Teuton. The Native American Tradition, chapter 67,

might also function as the space in which older communication modalities are represented and remembered. Vvhat Ct over calls monomedia may in this context be less dated than they appear. Some second-wave novels push questions about orality and print toward a more complex media-theoretical engagement that clearly draws on the self referentiality of first-wave postmodern fiction. Korean American writer Theresa Hak Kyung Chas Dicte (1982), for example, links the story of a Korean womans emigration to the United States with her mothers displace ment to Japanese-occupied Manchuria decades earlier, in an exploration of superimposed oppressions and estrangements that become quite common in novels of the 198os and IQQOS. But Chas use of dictation as a device of transition from orality to writing, her mix of French and English text with Chinese characters, her inclusion of photos drawn from her autobiography, from Korean history, and from Western film, her organization of the narra tive by means of Eastern and Western myths as structuring devices, and her integration of novelistic, cinematographic, and lyrical idioms raise many of the same questions about individual identity, its roots in familial, national, and ethnic histories, the role of language(s. and storytelling in cultural oppression and liberation that the novels of many Asian American and
other minority writers raise. The experimental, media theory-inflected nar rative strategies destabilize any firm foundation for such histories and identies no less radically than many of the historiographic metafictions of the T96os and

The rise of identity politics as a dominant concern of American novels,

therefure, by no means implies any simple return to narrative realism; at the same time, some of the ig8os texts usually perceived as paradigmatically postmodermst are not as anti-realist as the texts of William Burroughs. John Barth, or Kathy Picker. Don DeLillos White Noise (1985) is the most famous
example of a novel that is often understood as a portrait of the quintessentially postmodern society of the late twentieth-century United States, inauthentic and deeply invested in sirnulacra, consumer commodities, and media that

have come to replace any immediate access to the real. For most people there are only two places in the world. Where they live and their TV set, one of the characters sums up a social landscape shaped by media as much as by lived
experience. Yet with the exception of DeLillos skillful deployment of satirical




Postmodern novels computers and international digital networks as potential new spaces and new forms of community. The concept of the cborg, an intimately fused combination of biological and technological body parts that had first appeared in the early 1960S, was gwen wide publicity by Donna Haraways Cyborg Manifesto (1984i as a figure with utopian potential, and appeared as the logical human counterpart to the cyberspace first named by novelist William Gibson in 1982.20 The new medium of the computer, in Gibsons novels as well as those of other cyberpunk writers, replaced television as the alternate imaginary space humans inhabit. Rejecting a futuristic version of multisensory television called SimStim, Gibsons hackers in Neuromancer (1984) instead reside in cyber space, their distanceless home, [their] country, transparent 3D chessboard extending to infinity. Human bodies and the environments they inhabit emerge as irreversibly reconfigured by both digital and biotechnologies in these visions, and the ensuing posthumanism the reimagination of the human as a hybrid of biology and technology rather than the organic whole envisioned during the Enlightenment now became an integral part of postmodernism. If reality and textuality had informed first-wave postmod ernism as the opposing poles implicit in multiple novelistic games and negotiations, and second-wave postmodern fictions were re-introducing oral forms of storytelling as a means of capturing alternate histories, cyberpunk novels in the third wave of postmodern fiction shifted to a media-based dialectic of reality and virtuality constituting each other in the emergence of new spaces and bodies,

elements that leave the reader in doubt as to how seriously to take some elements of this social portrait, White Noise proceeds by and large in realist fashion: its humor, its philosophical depth. and its biting social critique all rely on the reader by and large believing in the narrative world she is shown. Hvperself-aware though the characters may be, they are not implausible, and the plot has a good deal more coherence and resolution than a novel by, say, Gilbert Sorrentino or Harry Mathews, White Noise, therefore, portrays by mostly realist means the kind of hyperreal world theorized by Jean Baudrillard without translating the critique of realism into its narrative form. Contrary to the simplistic oppositions that are often drawn in accounts of 59705 and 198os fiction between a predominantly white male postmodemism and a return to realism in the writings of women and minority novelists, it turns out that some of the white males are not as- antirealist and some of the minority writers not as realist as is commonly alleged. In the I)Sos, the postmodern novel shifted into yet another dimension: its association with science fiction and its portrayal of emergent tech nologies in the biological and above all the digital realms. Long reliant on conventional narrative techniques, science fiction had already under gone fundamental changes in the 196os through the so-called New Wave, somewhat differently articulated in Britain and the US. This movement introduced greater attention to social and cultural issues, increased character depth, and sophisticated psychological portrayals, as well as narrative techniques borrowed from high-modernist novels and the nou veau roman to a once formally traditional genre. By the 198os, science fiction had exploded into a whole range of difftrent subgenres and styles of writing ranging from hard science fiction, with its realistic portrayals of science and technology, to fiminist novels and fantasy. Priscilla Wald. in this volume, comments on the generic promiscuity [that] blurs the distinction between science fiction and experimental postmodern writing in the 196os. Writers such as Philip K. Dick and Thomas Pynchon had succeeded in blurring the boundaries between mainstream literary fiction and science fiction in part because they, like other first19 wave postmodernists, had taken a deep interest in film and television as part of a changed media landscape in which the novel had to redefine itself, This consciousness of the crucial influence exerted on literature by rapidly changing mediascapes took a new shape in the emergence of cyberpunk, a brand of science fiction that was intensely concerned with

From postmodernism



I Priscilla \Vald, chapter



The 1990S and early 2000S saw continuations and transformations of all the different modes of postniodem narrative, from metafiction to ethnic writing and technologically intlected visions. The legacies of metafiction are most obvious in monumental novels such as David Foster Wallaces Infinite Jest (1995) and Mark Danielewskis of Leaves (2000). While Wallace makes ample use of game structures in organizing a narrative world in which enter tainment in various forms predominates, Danielewski takes to new extremes the postmodemist strategies of embedded narrative, self-referentiality, and experimental typography in a novel in which print, film, and architecture all play against each other, Implicitly or explicitly, the question of the relationship between literature and other media surfaces as a recurrent concern in these novels: teleputers. combinations of television and computers, signal an



Postmodern novels virtual space in which he finds himself at that moment, software automatically produces receptionists who are ethnically and racially identical to the arriving customer, Japanese American novelist Karen Tei Yamashita rewrites Stephensons fictional equation from the other end in her novel Tropic of Orange (1998). Set in a thoroughly multicultural Los Angeles populated not only by African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos but also immigrants from Asia and Latin America, Yamashita turns the postmodem metropolis into a node in a global network of economic, cultural, and media interchanges. As she tells a story inflected by Latin American magical realism as much as by North American ethnic writing, film noir, and techno-postmodernism, media emerge as virtual spaces that at the turn of the millennium define identities as much as geographical places do: her multiracial characters include an avid radio listener, a TV reporter, and a Chicano print journalist who by the end of the novel turns into a cyberspace-based private eye, a neuromancer of the dark, as he calls himself in a direct allusion to Gibsons cyberpunk classic. Both Stephenson and Yarnashita. then, outline panoramas of global identities in which media become as crucial as nations, races, or ethnicities in shaping individuals and communities; while Stephenson draws on science fiction, Yamashita redeploys magical realism to portray the emergence of global spaces that no longer seem representable by realist means. William Gibson himself completed this picture in one of his most recent novels, Pattern Recognition (2003), whose protagonist, an international cool hunter for the advertising industry, travels around the globe from New York to London, Tokyo, Moscow, and Paris, but feels most at home in an internetbased fan community. It is a way, now, approximately, ofbeing at home. The [on-linel forum has become one of the most consistent places in her life, like a familiar caf that exists somehow outside of geography and beyond time zones, Cayce Pollard reflects on her virtual travels. But in a multi-medial twist, it turns out that this fan community has emerged around fragments of alluring but mysterious film footage that periodically appear on the web and seem for a time to hold out the promise of a realm of pure creativity and true art dissociated from the world of commodities and advertising. As the film is disseminated through the internet and both media are rendered verbally in Gibsons novel, Pattern Recognition seems less anxious about the possible competition between different media than fascinated by their new synergies. Whether the term postmodern adequately describes novels such as Snow Crash, Tropic of Orange, and Pattern Recognition is an open question, considering that the term postmodernism itself has begun to be replaced by other

onmipresent entertainment industry and culture in the lives of Wallaces characters; and in Danielewskis plot, an intricately layered narrative of embedded texts and readings revolves centrally around an imaginary film, The Navidson Record, which the reader comes to know about through a mosaic of letters, interviews, poems. and other written materials. Richard Powers, in a realist style more reminiscent of DeLillo than Barth, explores the relation ship of computers and virtual reality to legacies of literature, painting, and architecture in novels such as Galatea 2.2 (5995) and Plowing the Dark (2000). Similarly, Paul Austers intensely media-aware novel The Book of Ilh4slons (2002) portrays a Comparative Literature professors discovery of the films of Hector Mann. a silent-film actor and director who mysteriously disappeared decades before the onset of the narrative. As the professor researches Manns fIlms, discovers he is still alive, and delves ever more deeply into his life, work, and eventual death, he gives detailed shot-by-shot descriptions and interpre tations of several of Manns films. Auster here goes even further than Danielewski in turning the novel into a verbal transliteration of film, acknowl edging the central importance of the moving image but also through his exclusive engagement with the obsolete medium of silent film the ways in which verbal narrative might still be films necessary complement and mouth 21 piece, and perhaps its means of perpetuating itself into the future. While authors such as Wallace, Danielewski, and Auster redeploy the strategies of first-wave postmodem fiction, other novelists combine some of the dimensions of second- and third-wave postmodern novels with a new awareness of a rapidly globalizing world. Bruce Robbinss chapter in this volume explores in more detail the narrative plots, political implications, and imaginative shortfalls of such worldly novels, so a few examples of texts that clearly build on various dimensions of the postmodernist legacy may Neal Stephenson, in his cyberpunk novel Snow Crash (1992), suffice develops further the 198os vision of a world dominated and divided by corporations and their franchises more than by nation-states, but comple mented by a virtual world in which the power of hackers supercedes that of executives. More than his predecessors, Stephenson foregrounds the ethnic, racial, and cultural multiplicity of this world, even as he also suggests that this multiplicity is itself endlessly reproducible and commodifiable. In one scene, Stephensons main character, the aptly named Hiro Protagonist, an American of mixed Asian and African extraction, is momentarily surprised to encounter a receptionist with the same racial make-up only to discover that in the
g Bruce Robbins. The woriding of the American novel, chapter 66.





K. 001Sf

Postrnodern novels

concepts such as transnationalisrn and globalization since the mid-199os, But undeniably, in both these novels and the new discussions around the interrelation of globalization and culture, many of the same concerns persist about the legacies of modernity that shaped debates about postmodernisrn. Questions about the ties of modernity to its European and North Amencan origins, about the ongoing relevance or the demise of its central philosophical assumptions and social institutions, about the spread of modernity and/or its exhaustion inform discussions about globalization, even as geopolitical and economic dimensions tend to assume greater centrality in these debates than in those about postmodern culture. Finding appropriate narrative forms for articulating these questions about the legacy of the modern in a thoroughly global and media-connected world is the challenge that recent novels have begun to address by drawing eclectically on modernist and postmodernist narrative strategies from Europe, the Americas, and other parts of the world. Notes Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown. and Steven Izenour. Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Horns (Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, 1972). 2. After AT&T sold the building to Sony in 2002, it was renamed Sons Tower. 3. Hans Bertens. The Idea of the Postmodern: A IIisrorv London: Routledge. 1995. 5. ii. For discussions of postmodemism as it manifested itself in different artfornis, see also Christopher Butler, After the Wake: An F.csav on the Contemporary AvantGarde (Oxford: Clarendon, [980); Steven Connor, Postmodernist Culture: An Introduction to Theories of the Gonternporarv, 2nd edn. (New York: Blackweil, iqqr. chapters 36: Steven Connor. ccl., The Cambndge Companion to Post moderinsm Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2004, chapters 25. Frankfurt: 4. Ji.irgen Habernias, Legitintationsproblenii tin Spthapitahsnins Suhrkamp, 1973); jean-Francois Lyotard, La condition postmoderne: Rapport sur le savoir (Paris: Minuit, t979):.lean Baudrillard. Le miroir de la production: Ou, llllusion cntiqt{e do niatFrialissne historique. 2nd edit (Paris-. Casterman. iry , and Simulation et siniulacres (Paris: Galilee, 181); Andreas Huyssen. After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Post modern ism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986); Fredric Jameson, Postmoderuism, Or, The Cultural I.ogic of Late apitalisin (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991). Foucaults and Lacans theories of self are articulated across a variety of texts; as representative esam pies, see Michel Foucault, Siirieiller et pninr: yaissance de Ia prison Paris: Gallimard. 1975): jacques I.acan. The Talking Cure: Essays in Psychoanalysis and Language. ed. Cohn MaeCabe (London: Macmillan, 1981) and Jacqueline Roses introduction to Feminine Sexuality: Jacques Lacan and the Ecole Freudienne, ed. Juliet

Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge. 1990). 5. Bertens, Idea of the Postniodern 3- i8; Bill Readings and Bennet Schaher, eds., Across tite Ages: Essays Jhr a Postmodernitv that Wasnt Born Yesterday (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1993).

Mitchell andjacqueline Rose, trans. Jacqueline Rose (London: Macmillan,


Routledge, 1991); Allan Thiher, Words in Reflection: Modern Language Theory and Posttnodeni Fiction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984); .iarneson, Postmodernism, r6 i: Margaret A. Rose. Parody: Ancient, Modern, and PostModern (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1993): Raymond Federman, Cntifiction: Postmodern Essays (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993); Linda Hutcheon, A Poetics of Postmodernisju: History, Theory, Fiction (London: Routledge. 1988): Amy Elias, Sullitne I)esire: History and Post-i960s Fiction Baltnnore: Johns I hopkins University Press. 2001): Mark McGurl. The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing (Cambridge. N-IA: Harvard University Press, 2009). 8. Joseph Tabbi and Michael Wutz, eds., Reading Matters: Narrative in the New Media Ecology (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997); N. Katherine I-Iavles. Print Is Flat, Code is Deep: The Importance of Nedia-Specific Analysis, Poetics Today 25.1 (Spring 2004): 6790: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, The A nxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the .4ge of Television (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2006). 9. Leslie Fiedler, Cross the Border, Close the Gap. in The Collected Essays of Leslie Fiedler, 2 vols. (New York: Stein and Day, 1971). I1:461485.Susan Sontag. Against Interpretation. in Against Interpretation (New York: Anchor Books. 1990). 3 -14: Louis Rubin, The Curious Death of the Novel: Essays in American Literature (Baton Rouge: L.ouisiana State University Press, 1967); John Barth, The Literature of Exhaustion, The Atlantic (August 1967): 29 -34. Concerns about the fate of print culture have persisted over the 19805 and i99os: see Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (New York: Viking, 1985:: Alvin Kernan, The Death of Literature (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990); Robert Coover, The End of Books, New York Times Book Review (June 21,
1992): 1, 2325.

See Steven Best and Douglas Kellner, Postmodern Theory: Critical Interrogations (New York: Guilford, 1991): Patricia Waugh, ed., Postmodernism: A Reader (London: E Arnold. 1992); Thomas Dochertv, ed., Postniodernisni: A Reader (New York: Columbia University Press. I993 .loseph Natohi and [,inda Hutcheon, eds., The Postniodern Reader (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993); Nicholas Zurbrugg, The Parameters of Postmodernism (Carbondale: Southern Illinois L(niversity Press, 1993); Steven Best and Douglas Kellner, The Posrmodern Turn (New York: Guilford, 1997); Christopher Butler, Postmodernism: A terv Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002): Connor. The Cantiirtdge Companion to Posttnodernism, chapters i and 6so. 7. Butler, After the Wake; Brian McHale, Postmodernist Fiction, 2nd edn. (London:



Postmodern novels Sony c-Reader and Amazons Kindle reinstate conventional print appearance with some modifications such as adjustable font size on a digital basis, without the game-style or virtual-reality environments Coover foregrounds. i8. But DeLillos innovative uses of satire should be noted as a constraint on his realism: see the analyses by N. H. Reeve and Richard Kerridge, Toxic Events: Postmodernism and Don DeLillos White Noise, Cambridge Quarterly 23 15994): 305, and Ursula K. Heise, Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global (New York: Oxford University Press, zooS), 167169, 19. On the connections between mainstream fiction and science fiction, see Brian McHale, POSTcyberMoDnRNpunklsM, in Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction, ed. Larry McCaffery (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991), 308-323: Joseph Tabbi, Postoiodern Sublime: Technology and American 14rttingfrmn Mailer to Cvherpunk (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. i995); Veromca Hoillinger, Science Fiction and Postmodemism, m .4 Companion to Science Fiction, cd. David Seed (Maiden, MA: Blackwell, 2005). 20. Donna J. Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and SocialistFeminism in the Late Twentieth Century, in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge, 5991), i4981. 21. See also Ruth Ozekis Mv Year ofMeats ) i999): far less metafictional than Austers Book of Illusions, this novel nevertheless revolves around the creation of a tele vision series in the USA that is to be broadcast in Japan. and includes detailed descriptions of individual episodes.

so, McHale does not suggest that all experimental twentieth-century novels neatly fit one pattern or the other, but rather that this distinction points to a broad watershed in relation to which the critic can situate individual textual projects. ii. Raymond Federman, Plagiarism as Imagination [An Unfinished Paper New Literary Histor 7.3 (Spring 1976): 563578. 12. Pynchon continues such experimentation in his more recent work, Against the Day (2006) features characters that appear to be pastiche figures from popular fiction genres such as the Western or the spy thriller. One group of characters, the crew of an 189os airship, are indeed simultaneously characters from a boys adventure series and real individuals in the novel, flipping back and forth from one identity to the other. 13. Hutcheon, Poetics of Postmodernism, chapters 6, 7. and 8. See also Eliass elaboration of Hutcheons theory in Sublime Desire. For a discussion of historiographic fiction in the context of the long history of historical fiction. see Winfried Fluck, The nineteenth-century histoirical novel. chapter in this volume, 131132. 14. For analyses of historicity, temporality, and postmodern fiction, see Jameson, Postmodernism; Elizabeth Ermarth. Sequel to History: Postmodernism and the Crises of Representational Time (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995); Joseph Francese, NanatingPostmodern Time and Space (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997): Ursula K. Heise, Chronoschfcms: Time, Narrative, and Postmodernism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). the question of media in 15. 1 am indebted to the lucid analyses of Barths work Fitzpatricks Anxiety of Obsolescence (2325) and Joel Burgess The Uses of Obsolescence: Historical Change and the Politics of the Outmoded in American Postmoderniry, PhD diss., Stanford University. 2007, chapter Burges also discusses the fact that, starting in the 19505, film manifests its own obsolescence anxieties vis-/i-vis television, i6, For discussions and attempts to overcome these binary oppositions, see Francese, Narrating Postmodern Time and Space, and \Vendy Steiner. Postmodcrn Fictions. 19701990, in The Cambridge History of American literature, vol. vu, ed. Sacvan Bercovitch )New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999). 425538, See also the discussion in Amy Hungerford, On the Period Formerly Known as Contemporary, American Literary History 20.12 (Spring/Summer 2008): 410412. 57. Robert Coover, A history of the future of narrative, chapter 71. ri8o. Indeed. there are signs that print fiction is exerting a reverse pull on digital technologies. forcing them to simulate monomediatic forms of reading. The popularity of audiobooks, fur example, predates digitization, hut has immensely increased through the rapid spread of MP3 mediaplayers such as the iPod, which allows for easy download of even extremely long novels read aloud in their unabridged versions (from nineteenth-century novels, which can run to over thirty listening hours, all the way to Pynchons Against the Day, which totals fifty-three hourri. At the same time, hand-held electronic reading devices such as the