In this essay, I identify the centers of aesthetic gravity that pull texts together into what I have come to think of as a subgenre of the contemporary US novel: namely, the novel of human rights. What connective structures and recurring concerns can be discerned at this early stage in the development of the subgenre? How do its ethical pressures generate formal patterns and, in turn, how do its formal patterns generate ethical pressures? And finally, since both the textual and political forms are rapidly evolving, what can this rising subgenre teach us about the near futures of literature and literary studies in the United States?

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