Here Comes Everybody: Anthropological Hyperbole in Some Recent Novels

  • 1 English Department, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Johannisstr. 12-20, 48143 Münster, Germany
Florian Kläger

Abstract

In a number of recent British novels, readers encounter startlingly hyperbolic representations of characters and settings, indicative of an ambition to represent the human condition comprehensively. This essay reads this phenomenon in the context of recent critical commentary on the novel that has engaged with various kinds of universalisms (‘hysterical realism,’ ‘cosmopolitan’ and ‘cosmodernist’ novels, and ‘traumatological’ fiction). It suggests that the texts discussed here, Winterson’s The Stone Gods (2007), Crumey’s Sputnik Caledonia (2008), and McEwan’s Solar (2010), do not (only) aim at negotiating the place of individuals in globalized society and the dread of impersonal catastrophes, but at spelling out an anthropology: by way of autopoetological self-valorization, literature is presented as a prime medium of human relations to the world, answering to an essential anthropological deficiency.

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