Abstract

Either celebrating E. L. Doctorow’s The Book of Daniel for its critical power or condemning it for distorting democratic consensus, traditional criticism invariably agrees that the text conveys a fundamentally dissentive impulse against American society. This article takes a departure from this approach by aiming to show that the dissenting gesture in the text ultimately functions to reaffirm the value of the nation’s fundamental ideals. The text criticizes social defects materialized by a conspiracy, but in doing so, it reinstates the absolute value that liberal democracy is believed to represent. Based upon this, this article aims to reassess the “radical” criticism that this text is often considered to embody. By resorting to liberal individualism and reconfirming the value of the American Constitution, this text opposes the society by way of affirming its ideal.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1512
Print ISSN
0039-3827
Pages
pp. 83-99
Launched on MUSE
2014-03-24
Open Access
No
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