Providing an extensive reassessment of dominant and recurring themes in Ballard's writing, including historical violence, pornography, post 9/11 politics, and urban space, this book also engages with Ballard's 'late' modernism; his experimentation with style and form; and his sustained interests in psychology and psychopathology.
J.G. Ballard is one of the most significant British writers of the contemporary period. His award-winning novels are widely studied and read, yet the appeal of Ballard's idiosyncratic, and often controversial, imagination is such that his work also enjoys something of a cult status with the reading public. The hugely successful cinematic adaptations of Empire of the Sun (Spielberg, 1987) and Crash (Cronenberg, 1996) further confirm Ballard's unique place within the literary, cultural and popular imaginations. This guide includes new critical perspectives on Ballard's major novels as well as his short stories and journalistic writing covering issues of form, narrative and experimentation. Whilst offering fresh readings of dominant and recurring themes in Ballard's writing, including history, sexuality, violence, consumer capitalism, and urban space,the contributors also explore Ballard's contribution to major contemporary debates including those surrounding post 9/11 politics, terrorism, neo-imperialism, science, morality and ethics.
J. G. Ballard once declared that the most truly alien planet is Earth and in his science fiction he abandoned the traditional imagery of rocket ships traveling to distant galaxies to address the otherworldliness of this world. The Empires of J. G. Ballard is the first extensive study of Ballard's critical vision of nation and empire, of the political geography of this planet. Paddy examines how Ballard s self-perceived status as an outsider and exile, the Sheppertonian from Shanghai, generated an outlook that celebrated worldliness and condemned parochialism. This book brings to light how Ballard wrestled with notions of national identity and speculated upon the social and psychological implications of the post-war transformation of older models of empire into new imperialisms of consumerism and globalization. Presenting analyses of Ballard s full body of work with its tales of reverse colonization, psychological imperialism, the savagery of civilization, estranged Englishmen abroad and at home, and multinational communities built on crime, The Empires of J. G. Ballard offers a fresh perspective on the fiction of J. G. Ballard. The Empires of J.G. Ballard: An Imagined Geography offers a sustained and highly convincing analysis of the imperial and post-imperial histories and networks that shape and energise Ballard's fictional and non-fictional writings. To what extent can Ballard be considered an international writer? What happens to our understanding of his post-war science fictions when they are opened up to the language and logics of post-colonialism? And what creative and critical roles do the spectres of empire play in Ballard's visions of modernity? Paddy follows these and other fascinating lines of enquiry in a study that is not only essential reading for Ballard students and scholars, but for anyone interested in the intersections of modern and contemporary literature, history and politics. (Jeanette Baxter, Anglia Ruskin University) Shanghai made my father. Arriving in England after WW2, he was a person of the world who d witnessed extremes of human experience, and remained the outsider observing life from his home in Shepperton. 1930s Shanghai, Paris of the East , was a mix of international sophistication and violence, unfettered capitalism and acute poverty, American cars, martinis and Coca Cola, a place marked by death and war. It had a profound influence on my father and his imagination. Dr Paddy s fascinating book explores my father s fiction within an international context and offers a profound reading of a man who always kept his eyes and mind open to the world. (Fay Ballard)
Late Capitalism, Power, and the Pataphysics of Resistance
Author: Florian Cord
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG
Category: Literary Criticism
This book is the first sustained investigation of the political dimension in the work of J.G. Ballard. A product of and reaction to the cultural-socio-economic moment commonly designated as the postmodern condition, Ballard’s oeuvre is read as a continuous and developing meditation on the postmodern, examining it specifically as an expression of late capitalism. The book shows that at the heart of this meditation lies the question of resistance. Drawing on a wide range of concepts and ideas taken from the field of critical theory, it argues that in the face of a world marked by an unprecedented expansion of capital, in which modernity’s grand narratives have been invalidated and in which received forms of political struggle have lost their effectiveness, Ballard’s fiction commits itself to a deliberately irrational and extreme, pataphysical thought in order to develop a new discourse of resistance. Against past readings that have construed Ballard’s writing as non-political, decadent, or quietist, the study thus reveals Ballard as a thoroughly political author, committed to a subversive politics. In this way, the book also constitutes a timely intervention in the ongoing discussion concerning the nature and state of the political.
Innovative and interdisciplinary essays on the increasingly significant British writer J.G. Ballard (1930-2009), exploring the physical, cultural and intertextual landscapes in his key works, especially The Atrocity Exhibition, one of the most challenging works in contemporary fiction.
Andrea Levy has emerged as one of the most significant and popular voices in contemporary black British writing both in the UK and abroad. Drawing on a familial history of emigration, her critically-acclaimed novels - including the multiple award-winning Small Island - attempt to bring a variety of voices to the representation of black experience in post-war Britain. This book is the first of its kind to be devoted to Levy's work. Combining historical, theoretical and textual perspectives, the volume hosts a wide range of current critical approaches to Levy's fiction. With chapters written by leading established and emerging scholars, the book explores issues of literary form, diasporic literature and cultural value, the BBC TV adaptation of Small Island, while also shedding fresh light on Levy's critically neglected early works. The book also includes a new interview with Levy herself, a timeline of her life, chapter summaries, as well as guides to further reading and online resources, making this an essential companion to the writings of one of the most exciting voices in contemporary fiction.
As we move through the 21st century, the importance of science fiction to the study of English Literature is becoming increasingly apparent. The Science Fiction Handbook provides a comprehensive guide to the genre and how to study it for students new to the field. In particular, it provides detailed entries on major writers in the SF field who might be encountered on university-level English Literature courses, ranging from H.G. Wells and Philip K. Dick, to Doris Lessing and Geoff Ryman. Other features include an historical timeline, sections on key writers, critics and critical terms, and case studies of both literary and critical works. In the later sections of the book, the changing nature of the science fiction canon and its growing role in relation to the wider categories of English Literature are discussed in depth introducing the reader to the latest critical thinking on the field.
The present collection of academic articles is an attempt to reflect on new openings and recent developments in literature, literary theory and culture which seem to point beyond postmodernism and register a return to traditional concepts, theoretical premises and authorial practices.Interestingly enough, forty years after the publication of John Barth's seminal essay "The Literature of Exhaustion" (1967), the book is trying to diagnose the exhaustion of postmodernism, which was predicted by David Lodge already two decades ago. It also attempts to trace the signs in contemporary literature indicating that postmodernism is past its heyday, that it is losing or has lost its shine, fascination and attraction and that writers have been turning to the "old" or pre-modern forms, practices and strategies.Herbert Grabes' comprehensive and illuminating article "From the Postmodern to the Pre-Modern: More Recent Changes in Literature, Art, and Theory" which opens and sets the tone for this collection of essays is a major assessment of new developments in literary culture, focusing on the evolution of the postmodern to the premodern mode; it also highlights the role and current popularity of cultural studies and cultural history - theoretical movements which have been prevailing for some time now after the end of deconstruction.The articles assembled in this collection are on diverse thematics and written from diverse theoretical perspectives; they differ in scope and methodology, and their focus ranges from the postmodern, intertextual aspect to the open questioning of it and to more recent developments in the literary culture. Focusing on literary icons like A.S. Byatt, John Banville, Margaret Atwood, Umberto Eco, Vladimir Nabokov (but also extending into a less-known regions - geographically as well), they invite reconsideration and reconceptualization of such key notions as "truth", meaning production, textuality and literary interpretation. This book aims at opening fresh discussion, debate and reflection on the new age reaching beyond postmodernism, and the budding literary mode, whatever labels we might stick to it.