Literature & the Contemporary
Fictions & Theories of the Present

Edited by Roger Luckhurst & Peter Marks
June 1999
Pearson Education
ISBN: 0582312043
232 pages
$57.50 Paper original

At the end of the century, much criticism has become devoted to `last things': the end of history, the end of the subject, the end of the novel, the end, even, of the end. Literature and the Contemporary, in contrast, aims to provide through twelve essays evidence of the way in which the literature of the 1990s is constantly engaging in questions of memory and history and the representation of time in the present day.

The essays in the book survey theories of temporality from various cultural and philosophical standpoints, and represent critics writing from feminist, postcolonial and `queer' perspectives discussing literature in `our time'. The collection addresses such central issues as the politics of memory, colonial legacies, women's time, racial and sexual identities in the 1990s, and covers a wide range of contemporary authors, works and issues, some of which are treated for the first time.

Among the contemporary works discussed are the prize-winning books Graham Swift's Last Orders, Anne Michaels' Fugitive Pieces, and Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres. While discussing some of the most significant novels of the 1990s, this collection also offers a diverse yet cohesive critique of the millennial leanings of much `postmodernist' criticism, which it argues should be replaced by more variously nuanced engagements with literature and the contemporary.

Notes on Contributors
1. Hurry Up Please It's Time: Introducing the Contemporary, ROGER LUCKHURST AND PETER MARKS
2. The Impossibility of the Present; Or, form the Contemporary to the Contemporal, STEVEN CONNOR
3. The Politics of Time, PETER OSBORNE
Modernity, Postmodernity
4. Now, Here, This, THOMAS DOCHERTY
5. Melancholic Modernity and Contemporary Greif: The Novels of Graham Swift, WENDY WHEELER
6. Memory Recovered/Recovered Memory, ROGER LUCKHURST
7. `We come after': Remembering the Holocaust, NICOLA KING
The Post-colonial contemporary
8. The Rhizome of Post-Colonial Discourse, BILL ASHCROFT
9. The Dialect of Myth and History in the Post-Colonial Contemporary: Soyinka's `A Dance of the Forests', MPALIVE MSISKA
10. The Gender Differential, Again and Not Yet, CAROLINE ROONEY
11. Back to the Future: Revisiting Kristeva's `Women's Time', CAROL WATTS
Queering Now
12. Crossing the Present, Narrative, Alterity and Gender in Postmodern Fiction, ANDREW GIBSON
13. A Queer Spirit of the Times, MANDY MERCK

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