Truth and Authenticity in the American Prose Epic since 1960
- Author: Rob Turner, University of Exeter
Counterfeit Culture explores the possibility of writing epic in an age of alternative facts. Examining six attempts to forge an American prose epic since 1960, this study goes on to trace a national tradition of inauthenticity, stretching back across four centuries. In works by authors such as Pynchon, Gaddis and Burroughs, the contemporary turn away from truth and authenticity can be seen as a return to an established line of literary tricksters and confidence men, with tropes of fraud and artifice running deep in the American grain. Combining archival work with historically-inflected analysis of literary narrative, this book ranges through questions of identity, technology, history, and music in its engagement. From Marguerite Young's inquiry into psychological disintegration to William T. Vollmann's ongoing cycle of false histories, the study introduces a new reading of the American epic.Read more
- Brings literary-critical context to the current debate surrounding inauthenticity and 'alternative facts' in American culture and public life
- Draws upon neglected texts, including the longest novel in American literature (Marguerite Young's Miss MacIntosh, My Darling, 1965), alongside more canonical works
- Extends the exploration of national epic in the Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture series into the contemporary era
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- Date Published: June 2019
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9781108577540
- contains: 4 b/w illus. 1 table
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
Introduction: America and the 'way to the devil'
1. Marguerite Young's flood of consciousness
2. William Gaddis and the 'novel-writing-machine' of Andy Warhol
3. 'Paper reality': William S. Burroughs and the cut-up method
4. 'Bad history': Thomas Pynchon and the apocryphal epic
5. 'History shambles on': William T. Vollmann and the Seven Dreams Cycle
Conclusion: 'every story has two tails'
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