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postgraduate thesis: 'All is not Well in the world' : critical cosmopolitanism in twenty-first century fiction

Title'All is not Well in the world' : critical cosmopolitanism in twenty-first century fiction
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Smethurst, P
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Lee, J. E. H.. (2013). 'All is not Well in the world' : critical cosmopolitanism in twenty-first century fiction. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5185945
AbstractThis thesis considers how contemporary American and British novels at the turn of the century attempt to conceptualize global human, political, economic and ecological risks through different levels of global connectedness. Taking a theoretical approach, the thesis offers up the notion of critical cosmopolitanism as a form of literary critique that might help to connect the field of literature to current sociological debates about globalization and cosmopolitanism. Critical cosmopolitanism is summarized here as follows: a predisposition towards cosmopolitan ideals but also a self-reflexive awareness of its perceived ideological and narrative shortcomings; a desire to conceive of a planetary self-conscious by maneuvering across and between spatial containers like the nation-state; an attempt to map disjunctive flows of global capital onto various narrative ‘worlds’; a type of narrative reflexivity that is transferred onto the reader. The thesis comprises of two parts. Part 1 considers how the war on terror discourse problematizes novelists’ attempts to imagine planetary connectedness, and their struggles to imbue their readers with a self-reflexivity as an act of critical cosmopolitanism. Chapter 1 discusses the representational challenges that 9/11 presents to the novelist in terms of historicity, and outlines some of the prevailing metanarratives/counternarratives that are projected by them. Chapter 2 considers how alterity is used to critique or negotiate representations of the terrorist persona in novels by Don DeLillo, John Updike and Mohsin Hamid. Pointing to flaws in their narrative forms, these novelists enable their reader to transcend certain ideological boundaries which are denied to their own protagonists. Chapter 3 considers the interrelationship between terror and the spectacle in novels by Don DeLillo, Jonathan Safran Foer and Ian McEwan, looking at how 9/11’s images are able to project itself across the world but still reduce viewers’ capacity for imagining global connectedness. Part 2 explores how novelists use a range of postmodern strategies to represent the various connections/dislocations made possible by global capital and how it problematize perceptions of human relationships across the world. Global capital is presented as a fluid dynamic that enables greater connectivity across the globe, but it also poses difficulties in one’s ability to realize a genuine cosmopolitanism against the all-incorporating power of the market. Chapter 4 deals with a variety of attempts in novels by William Gibson and Don DeLillo to cognitively map the relations of capital and consumer culture, and to make these complex global systems more intelligible to the reader. Chapter 5 discusses novels by David Mitchell and Rana Dasgupta that experiment with heterotopic, multi-layered narrative platforms to represent interconnecting but geographically separate ‘worlds’, and their ability to project cosmopolitan ideals across these textual horizons of space and time.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectEnglish fiction - 21st century - History and criticism
American fiction - 21st century - History and criticism
Cosmopolitanism in literature
Dept/ProgramEnglish
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197089

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorSmethurst, P-
dc.contributor.authorLee, Jason Eng Hun-
dc.date.accessioned2014-05-07T23:15:26Z-
dc.date.available2014-05-07T23:15:26Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationLee, J. E. H.. (2013). 'All is not Well in the world' : critical cosmopolitanism in twenty-first century fiction. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5185945-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197089-
dc.description.abstractThis thesis considers how contemporary American and British novels at the turn of the century attempt to conceptualize global human, political, economic and ecological risks through different levels of global connectedness. Taking a theoretical approach, the thesis offers up the notion of critical cosmopolitanism as a form of literary critique that might help to connect the field of literature to current sociological debates about globalization and cosmopolitanism. Critical cosmopolitanism is summarized here as follows: a predisposition towards cosmopolitan ideals but also a self-reflexive awareness of its perceived ideological and narrative shortcomings; a desire to conceive of a planetary self-conscious by maneuvering across and between spatial containers like the nation-state; an attempt to map disjunctive flows of global capital onto various narrative ‘worlds’; a type of narrative reflexivity that is transferred onto the reader. The thesis comprises of two parts. Part 1 considers how the war on terror discourse problematizes novelists’ attempts to imagine planetary connectedness, and their struggles to imbue their readers with a self-reflexivity as an act of critical cosmopolitanism. Chapter 1 discusses the representational challenges that 9/11 presents to the novelist in terms of historicity, and outlines some of the prevailing metanarratives/counternarratives that are projected by them. Chapter 2 considers how alterity is used to critique or negotiate representations of the terrorist persona in novels by Don DeLillo, John Updike and Mohsin Hamid. Pointing to flaws in their narrative forms, these novelists enable their reader to transcend certain ideological boundaries which are denied to their own protagonists. Chapter 3 considers the interrelationship between terror and the spectacle in novels by Don DeLillo, Jonathan Safran Foer and Ian McEwan, looking at how 9/11’s images are able to project itself across the world but still reduce viewers’ capacity for imagining global connectedness. Part 2 explores how novelists use a range of postmodern strategies to represent the various connections/dislocations made possible by global capital and how it problematize perceptions of human relationships across the world. Global capital is presented as a fluid dynamic that enables greater connectivity across the globe, but it also poses difficulties in one’s ability to realize a genuine cosmopolitanism against the all-incorporating power of the market. Chapter 4 deals with a variety of attempts in novels by William Gibson and Don DeLillo to cognitively map the relations of capital and consumer culture, and to make these complex global systems more intelligible to the reader. Chapter 5 discusses novels by David Mitchell and Rana Dasgupta that experiment with heterotopic, multi-layered narrative platforms to represent interconnecting but geographically separate ‘worlds’, and their ability to project cosmopolitan ideals across these textual horizons of space and time.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshEnglish fiction - 21st century - History and criticism-
dc.subject.lcshAmerican fiction - 21st century - History and criticism-
dc.subject.lcshCosmopolitanism in literature-
dc.title'All is not Well in the world' : critical cosmopolitanism in twenty-first century fiction-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5185945-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEnglish-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5185945-

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