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After critique. Twenty-first-century fiction in a neoliberal by Mitchum Huehls

By Mitchum Huehls

After critique' identifies an ontological flip in modern U.S. fiction that distinguishes our present literary second from either postmodernism and so-called post-postmodernism. This flip to ontology takes many kinds, yet usually After Critique highlights a physique of literature-work from Colson Whitehead, Uzodinma Iweala, Karen Yamasthia, Helena Viramontes, Percival Everett, Mat Johnson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Read more...


taking over 4 various political themes-human rights, the relation among private and non-private area, racial justice, and environmentalism-After Critique means that the ontological kinds emerging Read more...

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Extra resources for After critique. Twenty-first-century fiction in a neoliberal age

Example text

We only lack alternatives if we accept that homo œconomicus is, as Foucault observes, “the subject or object of laissez-faire” (Birth 270). That “or” signifies neoliberalism’s purification of the subject-object relation, but as the subject-object vacillation of the neoliberal circle suggests, the world might not be as purified as we think. The mushy fluctuation of the neoliberal circle indicates, in fact, that the world comprises people, things, issues, and events that are a muddled mix of both subject and object.

More precisely, there really is no alternative as long as we insist on a critical politics that challenges one way of looking at the world with a different way of looking at the world. As long as politics relies on representation, on subjects over here describing and debating the world over there, all discursive options redound to neoliberalism’s benefit because neoliberalism has purified but then captured both sides of the subject-object relation that grounds representation itself. So while there might not be an alternative within critical discourse, there might be an alternative to representation, an alternative way to Introduction 15 produce meaning and value that doesn’t rely on the purified distinction between subjects and objects.

That is, the process of identifying new ways to produce literary value in a neoliberal context prompts a more ontological orientation in contemporary fiction. After Critique thus suggests that we should understand the ontological turn in recent twenty-first-century fiction as a response to the representational impasses that both neoliberalism and critique have produced, to the circularity and ensuing hollowness of representational acts that maintain and frequently manipulate the purified divide between subject and object, word and world.

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