Kurt Vonnegut's Crusade; or, How a Postmodern Harlequin Preached a New Kind of Humanism

SUNY Press
2
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“I’ve worried some about why write books when presidents and senators and generals do not read them, and the university experience taught me a very good reason: you catch people before they become generals and senators and presidents, and you poison their minds with humanity. Encourage them to make a better world.” — Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut’s desire to save the planet from environmental and military destruction, to enact change by telling stories that both critique and embrace humanity, sets him apart from many of the postmodern authors who rose to prominence during the 1960s and 1970s. This new look at Vonnegut’s oeuvre examines his insistence that writing is an “act of good citizenship or an attempt, at any rate, to be a good citizen.” By exploring the moral and philosophical underpinnings of Vonnegut’s work, Todd F. Davis demonstrates that, over the course of his long career, Vonnegut has created a new kind of humanism that not only bridges the modern and postmodern, but also offers hope for the power and possibilities of story. Davis highlights the ways Vonnegut deconstructs and demystifies the “grand narratives” of American culture while offering provisional narratives—petites histoires—that may serve as tools for daily living.
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About the author

Todd F. Davis is Associate Professor of English at Penn State at Altoona. He is coauthor (with Kenneth Womack) of Formalist Criticism and Reader-Response Theory and coeditor (with Womack) of Reading the Beatles: Cultural Studies, Literary Criticism, and the Fab Four (also published by SUNY Press), Mapping the Ethical Turn: A Reader in Ethics, Culture, and Literary Theory, and The Critical Response to John Irving. He is also the author of a book of poetry, Ripe.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 1, 2012
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Pages
176
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ISBN
9780791482131
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / American / General
Literary Criticism / Science Fiction & Fantasy
Literary Criticism / Semiotics & Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Arising from the philosophical conviction that our sense of space plays a direct role in our apprehension and construction of reality (both factual and fictional), this book investigates how conceptions of postmodern space have transformed the history of the impossible in literature. Deeply influenced by the work of Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar, there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of fantastic texts in which the impossible is bound to space — space not as scene of action but as impossible element performing a fantastic transgression within the storyworld. This book conceptualizes and contextualizes this postmodern, fantastic use of space that disrupts the reader’s comfortable notion of space as objective reality in favor of the concept of space as socially mediated, constructed, and conventional. In an illustration of the transnational nature of this phenomenon, García analyzes a varied corpus of the Fantastic in the past four decades from different cultures and languages, merging literary analysis with classical questions of space related to the fields of philosophy, urban studies, and anthropology. Texts include authors such as Julio Cortázar (Argentina), John Barth (USA), J.G. Ballard (UK), Jacques Sternberg (Belgium), Fernando Iwasaki (Perú), Juan José Millás (Spain,) and Éric Faye (France). This book contributes to Literary Theory and Comparative Literature in the areas of the Fantastic, narratology, and Geocriticism and informs the continuing interdisciplinary debate on how human beings make sense of space.
Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel of Time® by Robert Jordan has captivated millions of readers around the globe with its scope, originality, and compelling characters.

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At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

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