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.
Allen, Elizabeth (2013). “More is Less: Representing the Planet.” Dorothee Birke and Stella Butter, eds. Realisms in Contemporary Culture. Theories, Politics, and Medial Configurations. Berlin: De Gruyter, 90–108.
Allen, Elizabeth (2013). “More is Less: Representing the Planet.” Dorothee Birke and Stella Butter, eds. Realisms in Contemporary Culture. Theories, Politics, and Medial Configurations. Berlin: De Gruyter, 90–108.10.1515/9783110312911.90)| false
Bakhtin, Mijail Mijaïlovich (1981). “Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel” [1937–1938]. Michael Holoquist, ed. The Dialogic Imagination. Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holoquist. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 84–258.
Bhabha, Homi K., Carol A. Breckenridge, Dipesh Chakrabarty, and Sheldon Pollock (2000). “Cosmopolitanisms.” Public Culture 12.3, 577–589.
Black, Shameem (2010). Fiction Across Borders. Imagining the Lives of Others in Late Twentieth-Century Novels. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Black, Shameem (2010). Fiction Across Borders. Imagining the Lives of Others in Late Twentieth-Century Novels. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.10.7312/blac14978)| false
Blumenberg, Hans (1979). “The Concept of Reality and the Possibility of the Novel” . Richard E. Amacher and Victor Lange, eds. New Perspectives in German Literary Criticism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 29–48.
Blumenberg, Hans (1997). Shipwreck with Spectator. Paradigm of a Metaphor for Existence. Trans. Steven Rendall. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Blumenberg, Hans (2001). “Anthropologische Annäherung an die Aktualität der Rhetorik” . Ästhetische und metaphorologische Schriften. Anselm Haverkamp, ed. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 406–431.
Blumenberg, Hans (2010). Paradigms for a Metaphorology . Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
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