Writing the 9/11 Decade Reportage and the Evolution of the Novel

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 11/3/2016
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
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Writing the 9/11 Decade investigates the relation of the novel to journalism, and the role of both in shaping culture, by looking at novelists' journalistic responses to 9/11. Journalist and literary critic Charlie Lee-Potter argues that novelists were entrapped by the expectation that they would provide an immediate journalistic response to the September 11 attacks. Jonathan Lethem expressed the plaintive view that 'most of the novelists in New York were asked by one magazine or another to write something, and to me it seems our voices, at that moment, blended into one vast impotent scream'.

Beginning with an examination of the sometimes mawkish literary journalism that emerged in the days after the attacks, Writing the 9/11 Decade traces its evolution-in writers such as Ian McEwan, Paul Auster, Don DeLillo, Mohsin Hamid, and Nadeem Aslam-into new literary methods of imbricating the disaster, while attempting to stand apart from it. It includes interviews with novelists such as Richard Ford, Amy Waldman and Kamila Shamsie, as well as the only long-form interview granted by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who is himself a 9/11 survivor. In assessing the novel's capacity to respond to and contain an unimagined traumatic event, Writing the 9/11 Decade stands as a contemporary history of the form as well as of the tradition of the novel as cultural discourse.

Author Biography

Charlie Lee-Potter is a British journalist, foreign correspondent and broadcaster and is Supernumerary Research and Teaching Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, UK. She is also Visiting Tutor at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, and has taught in the English Department at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK, since 2008. She has presented many BBC Radio 4 news and current affairs programmes, including PM, The World at One, The World this Weekend, The World Tonight and the network's respected literature programme, Open Book. She has written and presented political documentaries for BBC television and has contributed to national newspapers and magazines, both as a literary critic and as a columnist and commentator.

Table of Contents

1. Richard Ford and the 'Impotent Scream'
2. Narratives of Retrogenesis and Retreat
3. Paul Auster and the Post-Past
4. 'History is the Third Parent': the Anglophone Novel
5. The Submission: Text as Memorial

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