Contemporary British Fiction

Contemporary British Fiction

Contemporary British Fiction

Contemporary British Fiction

Synopsis

This critical guide introduces major novelists and themes in British fiction from1975 to 2005. It engages with concepts such as postmodernism, feminism,gender and the postcolonial, and examines the place of fiction within broaderdebates in contemporary culture. A comprehensive Introduction provides a historical context for the study ofcontemporary British fiction by detailing significant social, political and culturalevents. This is followed by five chapters organised around the core themes:(1) Narrative Forms, (2) Contemporary Ethnicities, (3) Gender and Sexuality,(4) History, Memory and Writing, and (5) Narratives of Cultural Space. Key Features
• Introduces the major themes and trends in British fiction over the last 30 years
• Analyses a range of writers and texts including Brick Lane by Monica Ali,London Fields by Martin Amis, The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter,Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby, The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi,Atonement by Ian McEwan, Shame by Salman Rushdie, Downriver by IainSinclair, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit byJeanette Winterson.
• Presents a variety of critical perspectives essential for studying contemporaryBritish fiction
• Provides essential resources for further reading and research

Excerpt

This book is an introduction to British fiction written in the last thirty years or so and is aimed primarily at readers who are studying the subject or have a general interest in the area. Each of the sections takes a particular theme or trend identifiable in the period, and each chapter selects three novels that explore some aspect of that theme. I have worked with the assumption that readers will have already read the novels discussed in each chapter. As with most books of this type, it is not expected to be read cover to cover, and chapters and sections can be read independently. There is inevitably an amount of overlap and because of the range of issues they discuss some of the novels could have been included in different chapters.

Before proceeding, the category of contemporary fiction needs to be clarified both with respect to this book and the wider understanding of the term in literary studies. What do we mean when we describe certain literature as contemporary? In one sense the very idea of the contemporary in literature is problematic in that the term in common usage refers to the immediate present, and once a book is published it inevitably becomes part of a literary history. In this book, contemporary refers to the period 1975–2005. The first date is chosen for reasons that will be explained in a moment, the latter date is simply related to the year in which the latest references to fiction appear. The fact that this period of literary history tends . . .

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