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Between Nostalgic Resistance and Critical Appropriation Beitrag open-access

Contemporary American Fiction on/of the Information Age and the Potentials of (Post)Humanist Narrative

Regina Schober

Amerikastudien/American Studies, Volume 61 (2017), Issue 3, Page 359 - 379

This essay examines four contemporary American novels on the information age and its effects on (post)human identity and agency, transformations of knowledge, a changed media environment, and the role of America in transnational geopolitical complexities: Dan Chaon’s ‚Await Your Reply‘ (2009), Jennifer Egan’s ‚A Visit from the Goon Squad‘ (2010), Gary Shteyngart’s ‚Super Sad True Love Story‘ (2010), and Dave Eggers’ ‚The Circle‘ (2013). The four novels mark a recent trend in contemporary fiction in displaying a “metamodern” ambivalence between resisting a data-driven consumer culture while at the same time incorporating new media aesthetics and thus expressing a pragmatic willingness to adapt to such a culture (Vermeulen and van den Akker). By doing so, the novels stage themselves as new media’s complementary ‘other’ that both critically observes and fills the voids left by an informational media culture.


America as Network Beitrag open-access

Notions of Interconnectedness in American Transcendentalism and Pragmatism

Regina Schober

Amerikastudien/American Studies, Volume 60 (2016), Issue 1, Page 97 - 119

The network represents a prevalent figure of thought in U.S. American culture. This essay argues that American Transcendentalism and Pragmatism, as precursors to current network theories, share a particular mode of “networked thinking” that relies on concepts commonly associated with “America” or “Americanness” such as decentralization, informal associations, mobility, adaptation, and distributed power relations. The reading of some exemplary texts by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, William James, and Gertrude Stein examines the various ways in which they propose and negotiate visions of interconnection in relation to notions of the self, creativity, and geographical/cultural space. As a more or less explicit conceptual model, the network allows these texts to explore epistemological, aesthetic, and political questions in relation to conceptions of the U.S. as a constantly shifting, yet integrative configuration.


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