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Palgrave Macmillan

Transgressive Fiction

The New Satiric Tradition

ISBN 9780230294028
Publication Date May 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

At once praised as brilliant stylists and dismissed as crass opportunists, transgressive authors - such as Kathy Acker, Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, Martin Amis, Angela Carter, and Irvine Welsh - have routinely baffled critics. Arguing about 'message,' critics failed to identify this school as a continuation of the classic Menippean style, which opposes everything and proposes nothing. Like Ovid, Swift, or Rabelais, these writers present a view of life drawn from the candid and carnal folk sensibility praised by Bakhtin. At the same time, they depict bizarre sex, casual drug use, and methodical violence in language drawn from genres of conventional discourse. This contrived style lacks any explicit moral awareness and mocks the moralities through which bad behavior would ordinarily be seen. Postwar novelists struggled with the absence of a ruling social mythology; the new satirists bemoan this absence, presenting an essentially primitive subject addled by competing postmodern discourses.

Robin Mookerjee is Co-Chair of Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College, the New School for the Liberal Arts, USA. He has been a faculty member at Eugene Lang College since 2000, playing a key role in curriculum development. He is the author of Identity and Society in American Poetry (2008) and regularly publishes reviews, criticism, and poetry. His work explores the intellectual backgrounds of contemporary life, literature, and culture.

1. Criminal Rehabilitation: Introduction

2. Enemies of the State: The Atavistic Mock Epic

3. Liminal Intent: Nabokov and Burroughs

4. A History of Violence: From Satire to Transgression

5. Sex Offenders: Stranger than Fiction

6. False Pretenses: The Antisocial Hero


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