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Still kicking: George Saunders and ‘shadow realism’

Abstract : Even as George Saunders jettisons the usual trappings of literary realism, he does so not in order to debunk authorship and authority (cf. Barthes) or to reduce a story to the language of its own telling. Rather, he reasserts the writer’s moral role, and thereby defines a space for the figure of the author. With reference to Lionel Trilling’s defence of Nathaniel Hawthorne and ‘shadow realism’ this article situates Saunders in a literary tradition which challenges reductive conceptions of mimesis. It cites examples from Saunders’ short stories and novellas (CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, 1996; Pastoralia, 2000; In Persuasion Nation, 2006), and also addresses an author-sponsored website, with attention to how Internet materials are not only a promotion of Saunders’ work, but also an extension of it. Saunders foregrounds the referential workings of language while remaining attached to a sense that language is a tool for moral questions.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01644855
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 4:15:13 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 3:22:09 AM

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Charles Holdefer. Still kicking: George Saunders and ‘shadow realism’. Short Fiction in Theory & Practice, Intellect, 2012, vol. 2 (n° 1), p. 23-30. ⟨10.1386/fict.2.1-2.23_1⟩. ⟨hal-01644855⟩

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