21st century writing | 21st century approaches

Current Issue

A Unified Scene? Global Fictions in the C21

Posted by on Jun 26, 2015

The twenty-first century has been marked by an unprecedented intensification in globalisation, transnational mobility and technological change. According to Peter Boxall, there has been a ‘turn in the fiction of the new century’ to reflect this ‘contemporary global condition’ (Boxall 141). This turn is especially pertinent to any discussion of literature from Britain or the United States ...

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Current Issue

Celebrity and Surveillance in ‘There But For The’

Posted by on Jun 26, 2015

Ali Smith’s There But For The (2011) is about a man who locks himself in the spare room during a dinner party, and stays there for several months. As a plus one guest, Miles Garth’s act of seclusion provides the catalyst for Smith’s ‘scathing social satire’ (Tancke 85) of the Lees and their suburban lifestyle, with, as Ulrike Tancke notes, their main concern relating to the preservation ...

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Current Issue

Towards a Taxonomy of Edgelands Literature

Posted by on Jun 26, 2015

Susan Sontag, in her 1969 work Styles of Radical Willclaimed that ‘there is no such thing as empty space. As long as a human eye is looking there is always something to see’ (10) – foreseeing with the simplicity of her statement a watershed moment in literary and cultural criticism, the spatial turn, the effects of which are still being comprehended and incorporated into the ...

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Current Issue

Original Modern or a New Kind of Ordinary?

Posted by on Jun 26, 2015

There is a line in David Peace’s Nineteen Eighty Three (2002) that is so resonant that its absence is all but unimaginable: ‘To us all and to the North – where we do what we want!’ (Peace 228). In a series of short articles for Alluvium I use the malevolence and pathos of this line – a toast drunk by corrupt police officers to a chimerical space which, as Christopher ...

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Recent Posts

Litter, Landscape and The Road

Litter, Landscape and The Road

Feb 27, 2015

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) presents a dystopian vision of a near-future world in which most organic vegetation has died and human life is becoming increasingly rare. It is not unusual for dystopian fiction to ...

Reconsidering Quarantine in Invasion Narratives

Reconsidering Quarantine in Invasion Narratives

Feb 27, 2015

The academic and public interest in supernatural invasion narratives has increased exponentially in the 20th and 21st centuries. According to Terrence Rafferty of The New York Times, the fascination with the zombie apocalypse ...

A Terrible Precariousness

A Terrible Precariousness

Feb 27, 2015

The transition from the post-war welfare state to neoliberalism has been accompanied in Western countries by a series of events that Jan Breman, in an article in the New Left Review, summarizes as following: ...

The Legitimacy of Literary Opinion

The Legitimacy of Literary Opinion

Feb 27, 2015

The influences of cyberspace have been decried as the death of literature as we know it, the death of the book, and now also as the death of the critic. The changes introduced by the Internet in the production and reception of literature ...

Snapshots of the Executioners

Snapshots of the Executioners

Oct 17, 2014

When the images of torture and abuse by American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq became public in 2004, what was it that shocked so many people? It surely came as little surprise to...

Framing Comics Words

Framing Comics Words

Oct 17, 2014

Many aspects of the comics form have entered popular consciousness but none is quite as ubiquitous as the bubble. In order to work as a narrative form, comics are required to make visible...

Involving Animals

Involving Animals

Oct 17, 2014

From Neolithic cave painting, through to writers as diverse as Rainer Maria Rilke, Dante Alighieri, Franz Kafka, Herman Melville, Ernest Hemingway, D. H. Lawrence, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar...

From Genre to Zenre

From Genre to Zenre

Oct 17, 2014

In response to the question “what are you reading, my lord?” the young prince simply says “words, words, words!” (Shakespeare, 74). But perhaps the answer Polonius was looking for was a more...