The British Novel in the Twenty-First Century

The British Novel in the Twenty-First Century : Cultural Concerns - Literary Developments - Model Interpretations

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The contemporary British novel is not only alive and kicking, it has continued to flourish by engaging with 21st-century issues, generating new forms and sub-genres, and enjoying great popularity and cultural prestige. This handbook offers an overview of some of the most important recent trends in the British novel in the 21st century and provides a provisional map of the most salient developments that are already discernible. The novels discussed in detail are situated in the broader cultural transformations, looking at how they respond to and engage with contemporary concerns. The selected authors, works, and trends provide a more or less representative overview of the broad spectrum of current themes, genres, contexts, and formal developments.

This handbook pursues three main aims: First, the chapters explore key works of as many of the most influential novelists of the new millennium as possible. Second, this conceptually oriented volume tries to provide a survey of the most important developments, subgenres, themes, narrative techniques and contexts of the contemporary British novel, while being particularly geared towards the cultural concerns and contexts which the novels examined in each chapter address. Third, the chapters are designed in such a way as to offer exemplary in-depth analyses and interpretations of the novels in question, while also demonstrating various theoretical and methodological approaches in action, thus hopefully serving as model interpretations. Dealing with literary history in the making, this handbook offers an essential guide to teachers, students and readers interested in salient new departures and the multi-facetted trajectories of British novels in the 21st century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 370 pages
  • 155 x 227 x 17mm | 677g
  • English
  • m. 2 Abb.
  • 9783868217346
  • 3,201,240

Table of contents



1. An Outline of the Objectives, Features and Challenges
of the British Novel in the Twenty-First Century 3
Vera Nünning & Ansgar Nünning (Heidelberg/Gießen)

2. Cultural Concerns, Literary Developments, Critical Debates:
Contextualizing the Dynamics of Generic Change and Trajectories
of the British Novel in the Twenty-First Century 21
Vera Nünning & Ansgar Nünning (Heidelberg/Gießen)

3. The Booker Prize as a Harbinger of Literary Trends and an Object of Satire:
Debates about Literary Prizes in Journalism and
Edward St Aubyn's Lost for Words (2014) 53
Sibylle Baumbach (Innsbruck)


4. Fictions of (Meta-)History: Revisioning and Rewriting History
in Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall (2009) and Bring Up the Bodies (2012) 71
Marion Gymnich (Bonn)

5. Fictions of Migration: Monica Ali's Brick Lane (2003), Andrea Levy's
Small Island (2004) and Gautam Malkani's Londonstani (2006) 87
Birgit Neumann (Düsseldorf)

6. Fictions of Cultural Memory and Generations:
Challenging Englishness in Zadie Smith's White Teeth (2000)
and Nadeem Aslam's Maps for Lost Lovers (2004) 103
Jan Rupp (Heidelberg)

7. Living with the 'War on Terror': Fear, Loss and Insecurity in Ian McEwan's
Saturday (2005) and Graham Swift's Wish You Were Here (2011) 119
Michael C. Frank (Konstanz)

8. Fictions of Capitalism: Accounting for Global Capitalism's Social Costs
in Catherine O'Flynn's What Was Lost (2007), Sebastian Faulks's
A Week in December (2009) and John Lanchester's Capital (2012) 139
Joanna Rostek (Gießen)

9. Science Novels as Assemblages of Contemporary Concerns:
Ian McEwan's Solar (2010) and The Children Act (2014) 155
Alexander Scherr (Gießen)


10. Exploring Fragile Relationships in the Twenty-First Century:
Love and Marriage in David Nicholls's One Day (2009)
and Mark Haddon's The Red House (2012) 173
Christine Schwanecke (Mannheim)

11. (De)Constructing Gendered and Sexual Identities
in the Twenty-First Century: Fluid Selves and Multiple Worlds in
Jeanette Winterson's The.PowerBook (2000) and Lighthousekeeping (2004) 187
Susana Onega (Zaragoza)

12. Fictions of Personal Memory: The Precarious Character of Remembering
and Identity in Kazuo Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans (2000),
Penelope Lively's The Photograph (2003) and Julian Barnes's
The Sense of an Ending (2011) 201
Dorothee Birke (Aarhus)

13. Fictions of Ageing, Illness and Dementia: Mark Haddon's A Spot of Bother

(2006) and Emma Healey's Elizabeth is Missing (2014) 217
Susanne Christ (Gießen)

14. The Critique of Modernization in the Contemporary Novel: Imaginaries
of Community in Marina Lewycka's The Lubetkin Legacy (2016)
and Caryl Phillips's A Distant Shore (2003) 231
Stella Butter (Koblenz)

15. The Condition of England Novel in the Twenty-First Century:
Zadie Smith's NW (2012) and Jonathan Coe's Number 11, or
Tales That Witness Madness (2015) 247
Caroline Lusin (Mannheim)

16. Dystopian Novels: Biopolitics and the Posthuman
in Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go (2005) and
Susan Greenfield's 2121: A Tale from the Next Century (2013) 265
Eckart Voigts (Braunschweig)


17. Auto/biographic Metafiction and Relational Lives: Antonia S. Byatt's
The Biographer's Tale (2000) and J.M. Coetzee's Summertime (2009)
as Paradigms of Meta-auto/biographies 283
Anne Rüggemeier (Freiburg)

18. Epistemological and Ontological Metafiction:
Exploring the Nature of Truth and Being in Ali Smith's
The Accidental (2005) and How to be both (2014) 297
Gesa Stedman (Berlin)

19. Hybridisation and Globalisation as Catalysts of Generic Change:
David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (2004) and The Bone Clocks (2014) 311
Birgit Breidenbach (Warwick)
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About Vera Nünning

Vera Nünning ist Professorin für Englische Philologie an der Universität Heidelberg mit den Forschungsschwerpunkt englische Literatur von der Renaissance bis zur Gegenwart.
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