American Ghosts, Millennial Passions, and Contemporary Gothic Fictions
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
Download PDF (161.3 KB)
Download PDF (341.2 KB)
This work was originally conceived in the mid 1990s, when I found myself in Central Europe teaching a variety of courses on contemporary American literature. My students and I were surprised to encounter so many ghosts in the writing we considered and were spurred to begin a shared inquiry into...
Introduction: A Land Without Ghosts
Download PDF (418.5 KB)
In 1944, the last year, no doubt, in which it still might have been possible to speak with a straight face of American “innocence,” Fei Xiaotang, a Chinese anthropologist and sociologist on a visit to the United States, observed that America is a land without...
1. Haints and Nation: Ghosts and the Narrative of National Identity
Download PDF (596.9 KB)
Let me begin, then, with a brief propaedeutic discussion of the role and purpose of “culture” in contemporary life. Critics of “multiculturalism” and the emerging discipline of “cultural studies” lament that culture is a term so vague and ephemeral as to be emptied of all precise meaning...
2. Memory, Race, Ethnicity, and Violence
Download PDF (647.7 KB)
The debts we owe the past can only be paid off through hard work, and in this chapter, I aim to demonstrate how contemporary practices of memory involve labor. Toni Morrison, whose work I will treat as a very special example, speaks of the work of memory...
3. Abandoning Hope in American Fiction: Catalogs of Gothic Catastrophe
Download PDF (562.3 KB)
“Disaster,” as Eric Cazdyn reminds us in his introduction to a 2007 special issue of The South Atlantic Quarterly, is contingent, “is that moment when the sustainable configuration of relations fails, when the relation between one thing and another breaks...
Conclusion: American Innocence
Download PDF (465.2 KB)
I opened by suggesting that 1944 was the last year America might reasonably claim its innocence; in a brave new world of technological menace, amid the paranoid fantasizing of the Cold War (note how science fiction during the fifties and sixties transforms itself from a progressive to a paranoid discourse...
Download PDF (384.4 KB)
Download PDF (455.6 KB)
Download PDF (404.5 KB)
Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2011