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Sublime Desire: History and Post-1960s Fiction (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society) Hardcover – October 19, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Sublime Desire constitutes a major contribution to the growing body of work on contemporary historical fiction... a must for those who wonder about the pervasivenessof history in comtemporary literature.

(Luc Herman Review of Contemporary Fiction)

Elias sets out to deepen our understanding of the ethical and political power of the historical romance, then and now... By the end of the book, however, she gives us much more than a thorough literary history. She gives us an increasingly intense investigation of how we might engage an ethics that resists the modern and the nostalgic.

(Nancy Jesser Southern Humanities Review)

Fresh perspectives on the relationship between literature and traumatic historical experiences, historical truth and literary imagination, memory and narrative.

(Laura Savu Symploke)

These arguments are well stated and clear, and Elias's book is worth consulting.

(Jeremy Tambling Yearbook of English Studies)

Elias not only offers a compelling analysis of postwar fiction but also reconciles much existing postmodern theory... Lucidly written, richly textured, and commandingly researched throughout.

(Timothy Melley Pynchon Notes)

As someone who has written on the topics of history, postmodernism, and fiction, it is with great pleasure that I can honestly say that this book has made me seriously rethink my most cherished conceptions about this broad field of theoretical endeavor.

(Linda Hutcheon, University of Toronto, President of the Modern Language Association of America (2000))

Elias manages to catch the postmodern intellectual zeitgest.

(Christoph Henke Anglia)

From the Publisher

"As someone who has written on the topics of history, postmodernism, and fiction, it is with great pleasure that I can honestly say that this book has made me seriously rethink my most cherished conceptions about this broad field of theoretical endeavor."—Linda Hutcheon, University of Toronto, President of the Modern Language Association of America (2000)
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Product Details

  • Series: Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (October 19, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801867339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801867330
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,918,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amy J. Elias is Professor of English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she teaches and writes about arts and aesthetics of the post-1945 period, time and history studies, narrative theory, globalization/planetarity studies, and contemporary fiction. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters as well as Sublime Desire: History and Post-1960s Fiction (Johns Hopkins UP), which won the George and Barbara Perkins Prize from the International Society for the Study of Narrative. She is also the co-editor (with Christian Moraru) of The Planetary Turn: Relationality and Geoaesthetics in the Twenty-First Century (Northwestern UP). Professor Elias is the principal founder of A.S.A.P.: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present and hosted the association's launch conference in Knoxville in 2009, and is the founding co-editor of ASAP's scholarly publication, ASAP/Journal, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hayden V. White on January 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a major contribution to postmodernist theory and a much-needed response to cliché-ridden
dismissals of postmodernists' alleged disinterest in and "flight" from history. Elias shows mastery of the works of the principal representatives of postmodernist writing, the philosophical treatment of poststructuralism, and the serious literary criticism of modernism. She amply demonstrates that, far from being a "flight" from history, most postmodernist novels are in fact historical novels, though of a kind quite different from their nineteenth-century prototypes. Dogmatists, of course, will not be moved, but anyone with an open mind can gain a new and original perspective on the relation between history and literature, fact and fiction, perception and writing, and the conflict between literary realism, on the one hand, and its modernist counterpart, on the other.
Hayden White
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book won the 2002 Barbara and George Perkins Award from the Society for the Study of Narrative Literature. You can read a review online at EBR: Electronic Book Review.
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Format: Hardcover
Elias offers a lucid account of postmodernism's relationship to history. Sublime Desire is something of a rare bird, in that it is theoretically rigorous without neglecting fiction, or merely paying it lip-service. Novelists such as Pynchon, Barth, Silko, and Scott are not just trotted out to fill out chapters; rather, one gets the sense that Elias actually developed her theoretical approach out of a close reading of the texts she discusses.

Some familiarity with the fist half of Foucault's 'Archaeology of Knowledge' and Jameson's 'Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism' will be helpful.

One point: the publisher's list price of $47.00 is absurd.
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