Affect and American Literature in the Age of Neoliberalism by Rachel Greenwald Smith

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By Rachel Greenwald Smith

Rachel Greenwald Smith's impact and American Literature within the Age of Neoliberalism examines the connection among American literature and politics within the 20th- and twenty-first centuries. Smith contends that the illustration of feelings in modern fiction emphasizes the non-public lives of characters at a time while there's an unparalleled, and infrequently harmful, concentrate on the person in American lifestyles. via readings of works by way of Paul Auster, Karen Tei Yamashita, Ben Marcus, Lydia Millet, and others who degree experiments within the dating among feeling and shape, Smith argues for the centrality of a counter-tradition in modern literature thinking about impersonal emotions: emotions that problem the neoliberal idea that feelings are the valuables of the self.

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Additional info for Affect and American Literature in the Age of Neoliberalism

Sample text

90 Yet attending to the participation of nonhuman actors like books within systems of human and nonhuman beings and things presents an alternative to the market model for the conceptualization of literary circulation. If literary circulation is understood to function on the model of the ecosystem rather than on the model of the market, then the various people who come into contact with a book – writers, readers, booksellers, or reviewers – are not merely instigators and consumers of emotional value.

I then examine Paul Auster’s The Book of Illusions, a novel that invokes emotional subject matter only to refuse its anticipated emotional payoff. Both The Road and The Book of Illusions are stylistically interested in compromising between experimental and realist techniques, and both are of the neoliberal era. But drawing from the distinction between these two exemplary texts, I argue that there are forms of feeling produced by contemporary novels that productively call into question the assumption that emotion is an owned resource that circulates from individual to individual.

A memory was triggered, and he was once again a masked surgeon, cutting through soft tissue. 81 Both the individual within the car and Manzanar are revealed to have limited capacities to perceive where the music Manzanar hears comes from and what it is capable of producing. While the drivers cannot imagine the crude material of an automobile as contributing to something as moving as music, Manzanar cannot conceive of the raw physicality of the human as a component of what makes the cars do what they do.

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