The introduction offers a cultural history of the contemporary novel and traces in some detail the geopolitical, technological, and cultural shifts that shaped the novel after 1989. It also excavates a literary genealogy of the form from the mid-eighteenth century and delineates the homologies between the two eras. It argues that they both constitute ruptures in the evolution of capitalist lifeworlds and the politicocultural ideologies that shaped them. Information technology is to this revolution what new sources of energy were to the early industrial capitalist revolution. The two periods also bookend the rise and decline of liberalism that has been the ideological cornerstone of much of the modern world and a powerful shaping force of the novel in the modern age.