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Blank Fictions: Consumerism, Culture and the Contemporary American Novel Hardcover – July 15, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 187 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (July 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312215347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312215347
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,315,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

James Annesley lives in London and lectures in English and American Studies.

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John on November 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Jean-Francois Lyotard is often quoted as saying that postmodernism is "the incredulity toward metanarrative." Gone are the "fictions" worshipped in the past. Everything is a product of time and chance. The horizon of meaning has been wiped away. Metanarratives are reduced to personal plots. Hence the rise of "blank fiction"-the voices of modern designer nihilism, exercises in hedonism and rage. James Annesley provides a serious examination of this zeitgeist literary genre and its authors, such as Brett Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero), Brian D'Amato (Beauty), Dennis Cooper (Frisk), Susanna Moore (In The Cut), and Lynne Tillman (Absence Makes the Heart).
Building on Pierre Bourdieu's work on forms of capital, Annesley suggest that the unifying dynamic in blank fiction is its exploration of commodification-commodity as both an economic and social signifier. He writes, "In an age of infomercials, product-placement and ambient advertising, writers who are tuned into the dynamics of commodification must inevitably be able to provide important insights into the contemporary scene."
As such, blank fiction provides a grim reminder of the cultural consequence when "desire is sovereign and purchasing power the ultimate arbiter." Depicted is a twisted world where violence is equated with power, cosmetic surgery a form of advertising; where sex merges the visual with the commercial; where brand labels become identity; and drug dealing is seen as a celebration of entrepreneurialism. Here the commodity form becomes the force field of all social relationships. Nietzsche's prophetic vision is unmasked-our cultural "spiritual decay lovingly dissected." The pervasive logic of the commodity form may prove Lyotard wrong: the market may become the only credible metanarrative. If so, then the world of blank fiction may be no stranger than life.
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