Pluralist Desires approaches these issues by excavating the origins of 19th-century pluralism and its revival in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, revealing how major American novelists have appropriated the genre of the historical novel in the pursuit of selfhood rather than truth. Löffler complements standard accounts of the end of history with a selection of careful close readings that fundamentally reposition the form and the function of the historical novel in contemporary American culture.
Philipp Löffler is Assistant Professor of American Literature at the University of Heidelberg, Germany.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Saving Private Ryan, the End of the Cold War, and the Value of Historical Experience
The Uses of History: From Nineteenth-Century Historicism to Twenty-First-Century Pluralism
"No Longer and Not Yet": Don DeLillo and the Aftermath of the Cold War
After Race: Body Language and Historiography in Toni Morrison's Beloved and A Mercy
"A Singular Act of Invention": Storytelling, Pluralism, and Philip Roth's American Trilogy
Lukcsian Aesthetics, Self-Creation, and Richard Powers's Plowing the Dark
About: In Pluralist Desires, Philipp Löffler explores the contemporary historical novel in conjunction with three cultural shifts that have crucially affected political and intellectual life in the United States during the 1990s and 2000s: the end of the Cold War, the decline of postmodernism, and the re-emergence of cultural pluralism.
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