Contemporary Novelists and the Aesthetics of Twenty-First Century American Life (New American Canon) (Paperback)

By Alexandra Kingston-Reese

University Of Iowa Press, 9781609386757, 190pp.

Publication Date: January 1, 2020

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Description

Contemporary Novelists and the Aesthetics of Twenty-First Century American Life gives us a new way to view contemporary art novels, asking the key question: How do contemporary writers imagine aesthetic experience? Examining the works of some of the most popular names in contemporary fiction and art criticism, including Zadie Smith, Teju Cole, Siri Hustvedt, Ben Lerner, Rachel Kushner, and others, Alexandra Kingston-Reese finds that contemporary art novels are seeking to reconcile the negative feelings of contemporary life through a concerted critical realignment in understanding artistic sensibility, literary form, and the function of the aesthetic.

Kingston-Reese reveals how contemporary writers refract and problematize aesthetic experience, illuminating an uneasiness with failure: firstly, about the failure of aesthetic experiences to solve and save; and secondly, the literary inability to articulate the emotional dissonance caused by aesthetic experiences now.



About the Author

Alexandra Kingston-Reese is a lecturer in modern and contemporary literature at the University of York.