Novel Ontologies After 9/11

26,50 €
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Elizabeth Kovach

Novel Ontologies After 9/11. The Politics of Being in Contemporary Theory and U.S.-American Narrative Fiction

ISBN 978-3-86821-692-9, 218 S., kt., € 26,50 (2016)

(CAT - Cultures in America in Transition, Bd. 9)

Novel ontologies arise from states of concern. They are efforts to establish conceptual sites upon which a troubling status quo can be criticized, countered, and perhaps even redirected. This study focuses on U.S.-American novels that address specific socio-political developments of the post-9/11 era: a politics of fear that mobilized support for war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the global war on terror, the extending reach of neoliberal ideology and policy, and the augmenting of state surveillance and security apparatuses. The protagonists of these novels lament the seeming futility of resisting the status quo and hover in positions of stasis. Such story-level themes are accompanied by formal displays of ambivalence about how stories can and should be told. This prompts a striving for orientation in premises about being, existence, and becoming - for new ontologies. Such novels can be contextualized as part of a broader 'ontological turn' that has gained traction in contemporary theory across humanities disciplines in recent years. There is a resurgence of ontological questions in both contemporary theory and, as this work contends, this resurgence can also be traced in literary expression. This project illustrates the ways in which theoretical and literary discourses are engaged in implicit partnerships.

Ausgezeichnet mit dem Dr.-Herbert-Stolzenberg-Award for the Study of Culture

Buchvorschau / Inhaltsverzeichnis (pdf)


"Although it does seem like a jumbled setting, thanks to the author’s mastery of the subject and her intellectual discipline, Novel Ontologies is hardly ever a puzzling read. Quite on the contrary – it is a deeply engaging work. While the abundant means of structuring create a feeling of being on a rollercoaster ride, each time a reader’s head starts to spin, Elizabeth Kovach pulls yet another concept out of her theoretical hat, and the “weird world rolls on” (Paul Auster; Kovach 2016, p. 64), further down the spiral of post 9/11 U.S.-American narrative fiction."

Ewelina Pepiak, KULT_online 53 (2018)