Contemporary British writing moves in a variety of directions, and the object of this study is the exploration of a particularly fertile path some recent British fiction has taken. This book reveals the extent to which the grotesque endures as a dominant artistic mode in British fiction. It presents a new way of understanding authors who have been at the forefront of British literature over the past four decades. The book examines the history of the grotesque in visual art and literature together with its historical and theoretical accounts. Criticism historically has often represented the grotesque in the work of an author as the product of the personal habits and idiosyncrasy of the writer. Devoted to the late Angela Carter, the book considers the hallucinating characters, monstrous metamorphoses and disorientating play with perspective and scale that all point to the importance of the grotesque in fiction. Looking at the work of Martin Amis in the light of the grotesque in literature, it examines his novels Money: A Suicide Note and London Fields. The presence of the grotesque, with its characteristic contradictory elements, in Ian McEwan's fiction offers a sustained engagement with issues of subject formation. The grotesque provides a theoretical model capable of investigating both the principal narrative energies and the controlled structures of Iain Banks's fiction, acknowledging his place within the Scottish and wider European literary traditions of the grotesque. The book also looks at works of Will Self and Toby Litt.

Chapter 1 The contemporary British grotesque The object of this chapter is to give a brief account of the historical tradition of the grotesque in literature and the visual arts and so to develop, rather than a singular definition of the grotesque, a set of core qualities and theoretical debates in which the grotesque partakes and with which we can examine the works of Angela Carter, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Iain Banks, Will Self and Toby Litt as well as the links between their texts. Through an examination of manifestations of the grotesque throughout history

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction
Transformations of the Human in the Writing of Liam O‘Flaherty

This paper examines the way in which the tension in O‘Flaherty‘s writing between disappointed idealism and lingering romanticism is expressed by his use of the grotesque, which enables him at once to display both revulsion and romantic resistance to limitation, both of which are counter to a coherent enlightenment view of the rational human. The paper traces O‘Flaherty‘s use of the grotesque in the short stories and a number of historical novels and his creation of figures which are sometimes monstrous, often humorous and sometimes enlightened by moments of transcendence of limitations, but always resistant to defining boundaries.

Gothic Studies
Ben Jonson’s Masque of Queenes
Elisabeth Bronfen and Beate Neumeier

the Shakespearean imagination. All the elements which we find in other dramatists and which we associate with the pre-Gothic seem to be missing in Jonson’s works. Yet, Jonson’s grotesque characters coupled with the poet’s permanent obsession with the ‘mortality’ of his own work, led to works that were grotesque in form and morbid and melancholy in atmosphere. To examine Jonson

in Gothic Renaissance
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Introduction Contemporary British writing moves in a variety of directions, and the object of this study is the exploration of a particularly fertile path some recent British fiction has taken. ‘The grotesque’ as a term currently used in the media is a quality or set of qualities that seems to be ubiquitous and indispensable while at the same time being an extremely vague category or characteristic. One might speculate that the term’s vagueness constitutes its usefulness for the commentators involved, whether it is used in connection with contemporary writers

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction
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Conclusion This study has focused on the grotesque in contemporary British fiction from a number of different perspectives, and from the discussion of the grotesque in Chapter 1 onwards I developed a set of qualities of the grotesque drawn from approaches that were formal, thematic, psychoanalytic and discourse oriented in nature that became the critical framework for a re-evaluation of contemporary British fiction. As the first chapter showed, the grotesque as a set of features is extremely resistant to simple description and part of my aim has been to preserve

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction
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The limits of comedy

Chapter 3 Martin Amis: the limits of comedy [I]n Angela Carter and Martin Amis, one finds Dickens’s impress, in particular the interest in the self as a public performer, an interest in grotesque portraiture and loud names, and in character as caricature, a vivid blot of essence. (Wood, 2002, 11) This chapter of the present study will look at the work of Martin Amis in the light of my earlier discussion of the grotesque in literature. I will be examining, among other works, his novels Money: A Suicide Note (1985a, first published 1984) and London Fields (1989

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction
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Haunted by the grotesque

Chapter 7 Toby Litt: haunted by the grotesque Self ’s work contains striking contradictions at times, demanding that readers believe in the veracity of his fictional world while intentionally undermining the very processes that would make such consideration possible. (Hayes, 2007, 4) Toby Litt’s first collection of stories, Adventures in Capitalism (2003) was first published in 1996 and immediately created a critical stir around its inventive approach to the world of branding and consumerism. The book’s playful combination of actual brand names (including HMV

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction
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Below the waves

Chapter 4 Ian McEwan: below the waves I will know the nature of the offence. Already I know this. I know that it has to do with trash and shit, and that it is wrong in time. (Amis, 1991, 73) The presence of the grotesque, with its characteristic contradictory elements, in Ian McEwan’s fiction is most easily visible in the author’s use of grotesque images and scenarios. As my earlier discussions of the concept of the grotesque have shown, the admixture of contradictory elements, such as death and the comic, has traditionally been described as grotesque. A good

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction
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The play’s the thing

Chapter 2 Angela Carter: the play’s the thing A universal cast of two-headed dogs, dwarfs, alligator men, bearded ladies and giants in leopard-skin loin cloths reveal their singularities in the sideshows and, wherever they come from, they share the sullen glamour of deformity, an internationality which acknowledges no geographic boundaries. Here, the grotesque is the order of the day. (‘The Loves of Lady Purple’ in Burning Your Boats, 1996, 42, first published in Fireworks 1974) The invocation of the grotesque as the order of things is memorably marked in this

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction