John Irving and Cultural Mourning by Bouchra BelgaidJohn Irving and Cultural Mourning by Bouchra Belgaid

John Irving and Cultural Mourning

byBouchra Belgaid

Hardcover | December 18, 2010

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Alone among contemporary American novelists, John Irving seems to bridge the ever-present cultural divide between best-selling fiction and serious literary endeavour. His Irvingnesque style encapsulates the shifting patterns of American culture since the 1960s, expressing a mood of nostalgic melancholy or cultural mourning, which seems to go against ideas of the Postmodern. Indeed, Irving is one of the very few commercial novelists to be taught on university courses, this book is the first full-length study of his writing to situate him within the social, historical and political context of his times. It contends that postmodernism derives from the political failure of the sixties and a narcissistic obsession with the composition of the self. This narcissism is at the same time what Freud labels as cultural melancholia, the mourning of a lost ideal self-image. Just as nostalgia appears as narcissistic history, this lost self-image conjures up the figure of the Dead Father and the Father's Law, a figure which Irving's prose obsessively pursues.
Bouchra Belgaid is assistant professor in the English Department at the University Mohamed I, Oujda.
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Title:John Irving and Cultural MourningFormat:HardcoverDimensions:198 pages, 9.65 × 6.39 × 0.78 inPublished:December 18, 2010Publisher:Lexington BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:073913793X

ISBN - 13:9780739137932

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Chapter 1: Postmodernism or ''the literature of exhaustion'' Chapter 3 Chapter 2: The Sixties: Years of throwing off Inhibitions Chapter 4 Chapter 3: Irving's Family Romances Chapter 5 Chapter 4: Irving and Narcissism Chapter 6 Chapter 5: Mourning and Grief in Irving's Fiction Chapter 7 Epilogue: The Fourth Hand and groping toward self-redemption

Editorial Reviews

Bouchra Belgaid's John Irving and Cultural Mourning is a thorough reassessment of Irving's oeuvre that simultaneously offers a radical interpretation of Postmodern American cultural mourning. Belgaid argues that Irving's problematic Postmodernism derives from the political failure of the sixties that engendered a cultural mourning that the novelist can only resolve through nostalgic re-assertion of the Law of the Father, a lost American ideal self image that unifies the fragmented Postmodern self of his central male protagonists.