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Paul Stewart

contemporary novels in English feature fictionalised versions of him: The Joyce Girl (2016) by Annabel Abbs, A Country Road, A Tree (2016) by Jo Baker and Jott (2018) by Sam Thompson. All of these have appeared following an increased accessibility of biographical material. Whilst James Knowlson's authorised biography of Beckett first appeared in 1996, as did Anthony Cronin's biography The Last Modernist , the greater impact may well have been the publication of Beckett's letters in four volumes from 2009 to 2016. Although these letters are highly selective in many

in Beckett’s afterlives
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This first book-length study of Kate Atkinson’s multifaceted œuvre is a comprehensive introductory overview of her novels, play and stories. It situates Atkinson’s literary production in terms of an aesthetics of hydridity that appropriates and re-combines well-known genres (coming-of-age novel, detective fiction, historical novel) and narrative techniques. This book explores the singularity and significance of Atkinson’s complex narratives that engage the reader in contemporary issues and insight into human concerns through a study of the major aspects and themes that tie in her work (the combination of tradition and innovation, the relationship to the collective and personal past, to history and memory, all impregnated with humour and a feminist standpoint). It pursues a broadly chronological line through Atkinson’s literary career from Behind the Scenes at the Museum to Big Sky, the latest instalment in the Brodie sequence, through the celebrated Life After Life and subsequent re-imaginings of the war. Alongside the well-known novels, the book includes a discussion of her less-studied play and collection of short stories. Chapters combine the study of formal issues such as narrative structure, perspective and point of view with thematic analyses.

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Euro-American orphans, gender, genre, and cultural memory
Maria Holmgren Troy
Elizabeth Kella
, and
Helena Wahlström

changing ideas about writing in the USA and about the borders or legitimacy of American Studies. Writers and critics have also revisited earlier genres and works to explore these changing ideas. The contemporary novels featuring white orphans that we examine in this chapter engage intertextually with the Euro-American canon, claiming a type of literary kinship, at the same time as they draw upon a feminist counter-tradition as a form of recovered cultural memory. In this chapter, we investigate Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping (1981), a novel that features two white

in Making home
Peter Sloane

posthuman’, that ‘the concept of the human has given way to its evolutionary heir’ ( 2016 : 247), while Nancy Armstrong, seeing a comparable paradigm shift in literature, proposes that the contemporary novel ‘confront[s] us with forms of human life so innovative as to make it next to impossible for us to recognize ourselves in them’ ( 2014 : 442). With the aid of Martha Nussbaum's work in Frontiers of Justice ( 2006 ), this chapter is also an attempt to think through the literary implications, the ethics of reading in a world in which the human subject is, demonstrably

in Kazuo Ishiguro
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The limits of comedy
Robert Duggan

appearance) with a plainness of style. Amis, on the other hand, is interested in genre and brings comedy and slapstick to bear on his account of the contemporary novel. An Grotesque.indd 105 20/03/2013 09:24:31 106  The grotesque in contemporary British fiction important example of Amis situating his work within the tradition of the grotesque occurs at the very beginning of Amis’s career as an author in The Rachel Papers, where Charles Highway rewrites and reverses the maxim of Jim Dixon, the hero of Kingsley Amis’s most well known novel Lucky Jim (1954). Instead of

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction
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Shifting racial and gender identities in Caucasia and Middlesex
Sinéad Moynihan

. Caucasia is a contemporary novel of racial passing while Middlesex is not ‘about’ gender passing in the strictest sense for its protagonist is intersexed. However, comparing the two novels foregrounds the constructedness of the one-drop rule, for just as Calliope Stephanides in Middlesex is neither/nor and both male and female, according to conventional definitions of these terms, Birdie Lee in Caucasia is neither/nor and both black and white. In other words, the very term ‘passing’ accepts and reinforces the racial hierarchy instituted by the one-drop rule

in Passing into the present
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Orphanhood, kinship, and cultural memory in contemporary American novels

Making Home explores the orphan child as a trope in contemporary US fiction, arguing that in times of perceived national crisis concerns about American identity, family, and literary history are articulated around this literary figure. The book focuses on orphan figures in a broad, multi-ethnic range of contemporary fiction by Barbara Kingsolver, Linda Hogan, Leslie Marmon Silko, Marilynne Robinson, Michael Cunningham, Jonathan Safran Foer, John Irving, Kaye Gibbons, Octavia Butler, Jewelle Gomez, and Toni Morrison. It also investigates genres as carriers of cultural memory, looking particularly at the captivity narrative, historical fiction, speculative fiction, the sentimental novel, and the bildungsroman. From a decisively literary perspective, Making Home engages socio-political concerns such as mixed-race families, child welfare, multiculturalism, and racial and national identity, as well as shifting definitions of familial, national, and literary home. By analyzing how contemporary novels both incorporate and resist gendered and raced literary conventions, how they elaborate on symbolic and factual meanings of orphanhood, and how they explore kinship beyond the nuclear and/or adoptive family, this book offers something distinctly new in American literary studies. It is a crucial study for students and scholars interested in the links between literature and identity, questions of inclusion and exclusion in national ideology, and definitions of family and childhood.

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This volume is an extensive edited collection devoted to the work of the 2017 Nobel Literature Laureate, Sir Kazuo Ishiguro, featuring contributions from the most established Ishiguro scholars. It contains major new chapters on each of his novels, including the first published essay on Klara and the Sun as well as his short-story collection Nocturnes and his screenplays. Situating Ishiguro’s work within current debates regarding modernism, postmodernism and postcolonialism, the chapters examine his engagement with the defining concerns of the contemporary novel, including national identity, Britishness, cosmopolitanism, memory, biotechnology, terrorism, Brexit, immigration and populist politics. Discussing Ishiguro as both a British and a global author, the collection contributes to debates regarding the politics of publishing of ethnic writers, examining how Ishiguro has managed to shape a career in resistance to narrow labelling where many other writers have struggled to achieve long-term recognition. The collection opens with an extensive introduction by the co-editors which examines Ishiguro’s body of work as a whole and Ishiguro’s evolving literary reputation in light of his recent personal and commercial success. The book then offers individual chapters on each of Ishiguro’s novels, his short-story collection and his television and film work, as well as his recent journalistic interventions. Each chapter aims to extend and update existing criticism on Ishiguro via engagement with the most up-to-date critical frameworks, while at the same time staying true to each text’s most prominent thematic concerns. Given the prominence of its contributors and its comprehensive coverage, Kazuo Ishiguro: Twenty-First-Century Perspectives will be the definitive volume of Ishiguro scholarship for years to come.

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The public meanings of emigration and the shaping of emigrant selves in post- war Ireland, 1945– 1969
Barry Hazley

This chapter reconstructs the discourse of national crisis generated around mass departure in post-war Ireland and explores how it shaped the production of emigrant subjectivities. Based on a close reading of five oral narratives of leaving, contextualised through discursive analysis of local and national newspaper reportage, parliamentary debates and contemporary novels and travel literature, the chapter examines how subjects interact with a set of popular constructions of the emigrant as they attempt to narrate the particular circumstances and considerations that conditioned their own experiences of leaving for England. As well as showing how understandings of migrant agency were mediated through this ‘politics of exit’, the chapter underscores the emotional dynamics of family life as a key context shaping the personal meanings of departure, providing insight into the complex role played by leaving stories as sites of psychic conflict and integration within migrants’ overall migration narratives. Triggered by the act of recalling their decision to leave, these emotional processes point to the difficulties of leaving in the past, but also to the present self’s ongoing imaginative dialogue with the people and places left behind, and to how this conditions the reconstruction of past experience.

in Life history and the Irish migrant experience in post-war England
Fiction and the inter-war broad left
Steven Fielding

This essay examines how the inter-war left was depicted in contemporary novels. Some used Labour politics as their backdrop or even central subject.

In such works written in the early 1920s, the party was often depicted as representing hope for the future. However, by the later 1930s it had become a by-word for principled failure or cynical betrayal. To some extent these depictions broadly reflected the party’s own political trajectory during this period.

Many of these novels were written by those active in the party or by others sympathetic to it like. They can be read as reflections on the limits and possibilities of Parliamentary socialism, from within and outside the party, albeit for a disproportionately middle class readership. From these novels we can therefore reconstruct a certain picture of the party, one possibly more revealing than that which emerges from the public words of its leading figures, tackling as they do themes such as the party’s relationship with the working class, women, capitalism and Parliament. They express concerns about the limited agency of the people, the need for leadership but also fears about the temptations that the party’s leaders might become subject to – and the possibility of betrayal.

in The art of the possible