Abstract

This essay reads Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides as a new, suburban iteration in the tradition of American regionalism—as a novel that addresses the complex place constructions that have shaped national politics and residential geography since World War II. The narrators’ obsession with the Lisbon family and home evolves into a meditation on isolation, containment, and the ideological privileging of suburban domesticity. Reading against the grain of the narrators’ voyeuristic project, we see how this narrative about a local tragedy extends to questions of the domestic, the foreign, nation, and empire across the long Cold War era.

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