America and America

Shortly after its publication in 2010, Jonathan Franzen’s fourth novel Freedom garnered critical praise of the highest order, with many reviews…

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Human Nature: Pastoral in the Anthropocene

With the proposition that we are now living in the Anthropocene – the geological epoch defined by human activities and their effects – the conditions of the pastoral are placed under unprecedented threat, and at the same time, they can be seen to be given new significance.

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Departures: The Novel, the Non-Place and the Airport

The term airport novel is something of a misnomer: while the spy novel must by definition involve spying and the historical novel takes readers back into history, airport novels aspire to remove us from the world of the airport. Designed to distract the reader from the boredom…

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Transgression and Contemporary Fiction

One of the overt criticisms directed towards popular fiction is its requirement for a formulaic structure of characters, plot and narrative, which risks perpetuating the stereotype that all such fiction is repetitious, mass-produced and lacking in depth and originality.

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Intermediality: Middling and Meddle English

A project for poetry and text-based art has emerged over the past two years that tests the limits of what we broadly term as intermedia. The work is Caroline Bergvall’s combined ‘Middling English’, an exhibition at the John Hasard gallery in Southampton in 2010…

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Sherlock Hound and the Transnational

On 26th November 1984 the anime series Meitantei Holmes (“Famous Detective Holmes,” 1984-1985), known in English as Sherlock Hound, began broadcasting on the Japanese TV channel Asahi. Almost a century after…

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Still Here: Post-Millennial Metafiction and Crypto-Didacticism

In 1993, David Foster Wallace published an essay piece entitled “E Unibus Pluram” in which he outlined his belief that fiction should move away from the ‘critical and destructive’ postmodern irony that he saw as…

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Making Art in Dystopia

When contemporary artists work alongside scientists with “wet hands” in the bioscience laboratory, the results can test both scientific and moral imaginations. New uses of living material raise multiple ethical issues, and a concern for future…

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Authentic Violence: The Case for Autofiction

The recent surge in the publication and study of Life-Writing in its varied forms has largely been supported by the academic community, spawning dedicated research centres in academic institutions, journals and conferences and it…

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On Nuclear Criticism

In 1984, the journal Diacritics set out to define what it labelled as the developing academic terrain of ‘nuclear criticism’. The opening section of the journal entitled…

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