This book explores how the contemporary American novel has revived a long literary and political tradition of imagining male friendship as interlinked with the promises and paradoxes of democracy in the United States. In the last decades of the twentieth century, not only novelists but philosophers, critical theorists, and sociologists rediscovered the concept of friendship as a means of scrutinising bonds of national identity. This book reveals how friendship, long exiled from serious political philosophy, returned as a crucial term in late twentieth-century communitarian debates about citizenship, while, at the same time, becoming integral to continental philosophy’s exploration of the roots of democracy, and, in a different guise, to histories of sexuality. Moving innovatively between these disciplines, this important study brings into dialogue the work of authors rarely discussed together – including Philip Roth, Paul Auster, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem, Dinaw Mengestu, and Teju Cole – and advances a compelling new account of the political and intellectual fabric of the contemporary American novel.
touched or impressed him, Leconte crosses nationality and generation, before finally expressing his admiration for the iconic Jewish-American tragic-comic director and actor. This reluctance, this restless, irritable inability to commit to any one discernable position or to follow any singular influence is perhaps at the heart of Leconte’s diversity as a filmmaker. We have seen that this diversity is part of what irritates
This chapter considers Hail, Caesar! (2016) as a distinctive, although far from dogmatic, Jewish American meditation on visual representation of ‘the godhead’ and invocations of faith in classic Hollywood and post-classic cinema. In some ways, Hail, Caesar! is an indirect riposte to The Passion of the Christ (2004). I also consider Hail, Caesar!’s exploration of these issues in relation to A Serious Man (2009), the Coens’ early meditation, albeit in a different mode, on faith, and Ben-Hur (1959). Hail, Caesar! reworks the Charlton Heston Ben-Hur more profoundly and compellingly than the blockbuster remake of this film released later in 2016.
. Although some critics, such as Mark Shechner, have long argued that Roth possesses ‘the most distinctive voice in American fiction’, his position in the pantheon of classic post-war American authors was for many years somewhat precarious (Shechner 2003: 216). Critical acclaim and controversy came early to Roth and ensured that he was one of the most fashionable American novelists at the end of the 1950s and 1960s, but in the early 1970s his sales and his literary reputation began to decline and he was often regarded as the junior partner of a Jewish-American triumvirate
complicate any argument for a generational shift in literary or intellectual outlook by bringing together writers of various ages to track the uneven development of post-1990s US fiction, and to highlight significant points of contact between writers whose careers began and developed in very different eras. As well as post-postmodernism, another more established critical paradigm that this book queries is that of ‘Jewish American fiction’. The novelists considered in the first three chapters are all Jewish, although the label ‘Jewish American author’ has been used to
This book examines the impact that nostalgia has had on the Labour Party’s political development since 1951. In contrast to existing studies that have emphasised the role played by modernity, it argues that nostalgia has defined Labour’s identity and determined the party’s trajectory over time. It outlines how Labour, at both an elite and a grassroots level, has been and remains heavily influenced by a nostalgic commitment to an era of heroic male industrial working-class struggle. This commitment has hindered policy discussion, determined the form that the modernisation process has taken and shaped internal conflict and cohesion. More broadly, Labour’s emotional attachment to the past has made it difficult for the party to adjust to the socioeconomic changes that have taken place in Britain. In short, nostalgia has frequently left the party out of touch with the modern world. In this way, this book offers an assessment of Labour’s failures to adapt to the changing nature and demands of post-war Britain.
At a time when monolingualist claims for the importance of ‘speaking English’ to the national order continue louder than ever, even as language diversity is increasingly part of contemporary British life, literature becomes a space to consider the terms of linguistic belonging. Bad English examines writers including Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall, who engage multilingually, experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power. Considering their invented vernaculars and mixed idioms, their dramatised scenes of languaging – languages learned or lost, acts of translation, scenes of speaking, the exposure and racialised visibility of accent – it argues for a growing field of contemporary literature in Britain pre-eminently concerned with language’s power dynamics, its aesthetic potentialities, and its prosthetic strangeness. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, Bad English explores contemporary arguments about language in Britain – in debates about citizenship or education, in the media or on Twitter, in Home Office policy and asylum legislation – as well as the ways they are taken up in literature. It uncovers both an antagonistic and a productive interplay between language politics and literary form, tracing writers’ articulation of linguistic alienation and ambivalence, as well as the productivity and making-new of radical language practices. Doing so, it refutes the view that language difference and language politics are somehow irrelevant to contemporary Britain and instead argues for their constitutive centrality to the work of novelists and poets whose inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms is the generative force of their writing.
The Arab–Israeli conflict has been at the centre of international affairs for decades. Despite repeated political efforts, the confrontation and casualties continue, especially in fighting between Israelis and Palestinians. This new assessment emphasizes the role that military force plays in blocking a diplomatic resolution. Many Arabs and Israelis believe that the only way to survive or to be secure is through the development, threat, and use of military force and violence. This idea is deeply flawed and results in missed diplomatic opportunities and growing insecurity. Coercion cannot force rivals to sign a peace agreement to end a long-running conflict. Sometimes negotiations and mutual concessions are the key to improving the fate of a country or national movement. Using short historical case studies from the 1950s through to today, the book explores and pushes back against the dominant belief that military force leads to triumph while negotiations and concessions lead to defeat and further unwelcome challenges. In The sword is not enough, we learn both what makes this idea so compelling to Arab and Israeli leaders and how it eventually may get dislodged.
This work demonstrates that resistance to occupation by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during the Second World War has to be seen through a transnational, not a national, lens. It explores how people often resisted outside their country of origin because they were migrants, refugees or exiles who were already on the move. It traces their trajectories and encounters with other resisters and explores their experiences, including changes of beliefs, practices and identities. The book is a powerful, subtle and thought-provoking alternative to works on the Second World War that focus on single countries or on grand strategy. It is a ‘bottom up’ story of extraordinary individuals and groups who resisted oppression from Spain to the Soviet Union and the Balkans. It challenges the standard chronology of the war, beginning with the formation of the International Brigades in Spain and following through to the onset of the Cold War and the foundation of the state of Israel. This is a collective project by a team of international historians led by Robert Gildea, author of Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance (Faber & Faber, 2015). These have explored archives across Europe, the USA, Russia and Israel in order to unearth scores of fascinating individual stories which are woven together into themed chapters and a powerful new interpretation. The book is aimed at undergraduates and graduates working on twentieth-century Europe and the Second World War or interested in the possibilities of transnational history.
’s latest peccadillo is the relationship he has begun with Faunia Farley, half his age and an apparently illiterate janitor at his former place of employ, Athena College. Coleman and Faunia are eventually murdered by Faunia’s psychotic ex-husband, Vietnam veteran Lester Farley. It is only when his darker-skinned sister Ernestine attends Coleman’s funeral that Zuckerman discovers his friend was born into an African American family and has been passing since the 1940s. He enters the navy as a white man in October 1944, but after meeting his future wife, Jewish American