The Contemporary British Novel

The Contemporary British Novel

The Contemporary British Novel

The Contemporary British Novel

Synopsis

Written by some of the world's finest contemporary literature specialists, the newly commissioned essays in this volume examine the work of more than twenty major British novelists: Peter Ackroyd, Martin Amis, Iain (M.) Banks, Pat Barker, Julian Barnes, A. S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Janice Galloway, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Kazuo Ishiguro, James Kelman, A. L. Kennedy, Hanif Kureishi, Ian McEwan, Caryl Philips, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Graham Swift, Rose Tremain, Marina Warner, Irvine Welsh and Jeanette Winterson. The book will be of interest not only to students, teachers and lecturers, but to the general reader seeking help in approaching the often baffling novels of the recent past. Key Features:
• Literary critical 'isms' are described in clear, jargon-free language.
• Focuses on British fiction since 1980 giving coverage of established authors such as Angela Carter and Ian McEwan as well as little addressed novelists such as James Kelman and Zadie Smith.
• Essays are by leading scholars in contemporary fiction.

Excerpt

An increasingly complex contemporary world has given rise to increasingly complex contemporary novels – novels that students in schools, colleges, polytechnics and universities around the world often find daunting. the novels themselves, as well as the reviewers, scholars and others who discuss them, frequently invoke views of the world, ideologies and theories that can baffle; for those who write about contemporary fiction are not always clear what they mean by key terms like 'realism', 'postcolonialism', 'feminism' and 'postmodernism'. The Contemporary British Novel seeks to define (or identify the problems involved in defining) these terms not just for students, but for teachers and interested members of the reading public; and it reveals the extent to which the practice of twenty-two leading British novelists embodies, exemplifies, modifies or rejects the theories that these terms represent. in recognition of the fact that novels often embody combinations of realism, postcolonialism, feminism and postmodernism, and include other '-isms' as well, the collection is divided into four parts, each devoted to one of the four major '-isms', yet each admitting other '-isms' into the discussion of the novelists concerned.

This collection of hitherto unpublished essays examines the work of some of the most major contemporary British novelists of the past twenty-odd years. the novelists selected for discussion here are some of the most widely taught at educational institutions in Great Britain and elsewhere in the English-speaking world, as well as being some of the most widely read by members of the reading public interested in 'serious' contemporary fiction. John Fowles is not represented, since the focus of this volume is on the novel since 1980, and he has published only one novel since then; William Boyd, Malcolm Bradbury, David Lodge, Christine Brooke-Rose, Timothy Mo and Fay Weldon, among others, have been excluded simply because there is a limit to the number of novelists who can be accommodated in a book of this length. While the collection might have included some contemporary American and/or Irish novelists, this would have led to even greater problems of selection, and could also have meant increasing the number of '-isms' dealt with in the essays.

Realism is the oldest of the major '-isms' to be discussed in the collection. Ian Watt notes in The Rise of the Novel that the term was first used in France in 1835, but that some of the earliest English novels – those by Defoe . . .

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