Early in her compelling first book, Succeeding Postmodernism (2014), Mary K. Holland posited a new conception of experimental fiction, asserting that the growing body of contemporary novels that have “shift[ed] their foci toward the real, the thing, and presence, and away from the sign, word, and absence” provides ample evidence of “a new mode of realism, poststructural realism, that produces ‘reality effects’ not by repressing the machinations of fiction, as does traditional realism, but by making them visible via metafiction” (7). In confronting the received wisdom about the linguistic turn’s evacuation of the human from fiction, Succeeding Postmodernism proceeds to articulate the provocative thesis that today’s fiction employs poststructuralism’s tenets “toward the ends of realism and humanism.” So understood, the literature succeeding postmodernism seeks to reconcile language’s fundamental limitations by addressing them directly, resulting in texts that have come to be described generally, and perhaps imprecisely, as metafiction. Through...
The Moral Worlds of Contemporary Realism by Mary K. Holland
E. C. Koch is a doctoral candidate in the English Department at the University at Albany, SUNY. His research focuses on the literature of September Eleventh and periodizing contemporary literature’s shift from postmodernism to the New Sincerity.
E. C. Koch; The Moral Worlds of Contemporary Realism by Mary K. Holland. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 December 2020; 66 (4): 521–527. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-8770728
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