Malvestio, Marco (2019) The conflict revisited: representing the second world war in twenty-first century fiction. [Ph.D. thesis]
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Abstract (italian or english)
The thesis seeks to illuminate the post-postmodern poetics of contemporary global literature about World War II. Whereas twentieth-century novels concerned with the representation of the Second World War tend toward postmodern playfulness and deconstructivism, contemporary literatures about the Second World War, I argue, pay renewed attention to reality. Through textual examples, I convey how authors reprise the techniques of modern and classical genres in tandem with postmodern traits in order to realise the Second World War as an historical event as well as a discursive subject and a plot device through which to explore the intersections of human history and violence. This thesis considers in detail works by Chilean author, Roberto Bolaño; French author, Jonathan Littell; American author, William T. Vollmann; and Australian author, Richard Flanagan. It also makes comparisons between their approaches to representing World War II and those of other writers such as Philip Roth, Laurent Binet, Giorgio Falco, Martin Amis, Andrea Levy, Sarah Waters, Ian McEwan, and others. The breadth of authors analysed is intended to convey the extent to which contemporary representations of World War II converge around a postpostmodern return of the real, and therefore testify to the evolution of post-postmodern poetics as an international phenomenon and the form of the global novel.
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