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A Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction

ISBN: 978-1-4051-2000-5
296 pages
December 2005, Wiley-Blackwell
A Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction (1405120002) cover image
A Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction offers an authoritative overview of contemporary British fiction in its social, political, and economic contexts.

  • Focuses on the fiction that has emerged since the late 1970s, roughly since the start of the Thatcher era.

  • Comprises original essays from major scholars.

  • Topics range from the rise and fall of the postcolonial novel to controversies over the celebrity author.

  • The emphasis is on the whole fiction scene, from bookstores and prizes to the changing economics of film adaptation.

  • Enables students to read contemporary works of British fiction with a much clearer sense of where they fit within British cultural life.
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Notes on Contributors.

Introduction: British Fiction in a Global Frame (James F. English).

The Increasing importance since the 1970s of transnational markets and circuits of exchange, and the consequent repositioning of British fiction in "World literary space.".

Part I: Institutions of Commerce.

1. Literary Fiction and the Book Trade (Richard Todd).

2. Literary Authorship and Celebrity Culture (James F. English and John Frow).

3. Fiction and the Film Industry (Andrew Higson).

Part II: Elaborations of Empire.

4. Tropicalizing London: British Fiction and the Discipline of Postcolonialism (Nico Israel).

5. New Ethnicities, the Novel, and the Burdens of Representation (James Procter).

6. Devolving the Scottish Novel (Cairns Craig).

7. Northern Irish Fiction: Provisional and Pataphysicians (John Brannigan).

Part III: Mutations of Form.

8. The Historical Turn in British Fiction (Suzanne Keen).

9. The Woman Writer and the Continuities of Feminism (Patricia Waugh).

10. Queer Fiction: the Ambiguous Emergence of a Genre (Robert L. Caserio).

11. The Demise of Class Fiction (Dominic Hedad).

12. What the Porter Saw: On the Academic Novel (Bruce Robbins).

Index.
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James F. English is Professor and Chair of the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Comic Transactions: Literature, Humor, and the Politics of Community in Twentieth-Century Britain (1994) and The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value (2005).
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  • An authoritative overview of the social, political and economic contexts of contemporary British fiction (since the 1970s).

  • Brings together 12 original essays by an international team of scholars (from the UK, US, Australia and Germany).

  • Highlights the recent transformation of the fiction scene, examining bookselling, book reviewing, literary prizes and the changing relationship between literature and the cinema.

  • Topics covered range from the rise and fall of the postcolonial novel, to controversies over the celebrity author, and the demise of class fiction.

  • Enables students to read contemporary works of British fiction with a much clearer sense of where they fit within British cultural life.
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"Blackwell's new Companion to contemporary British fiction is a delight to review. It delivers on its promises to be innovative, highly readable, lively and topical, and it warrants wholehearted endorsement as an essenital addition to any library that is seriously developing resources for undergraduate and taught postgraduate study."
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"James English's companion contains a series of fresh, lively and insightful readings of the key figures in post-war British fiction from Martin Amis to Zadie Smith. Its coverage of the multiple, changing contexts - from globalization and the 'new ethnicities' to the rise of book groups and online retailing - in which that fiction is produced and consumed is generously wide-ranging and satisfyingly informative. This is an authoritative and approachable book." Michael Greaney, Lancaster University

“James English's A Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction is a valuable addition to discussions of recent writing. The essays collected here are wide-ranging, well-informed, and critically astute. This book will make a strong contribution to our understanding of the contemporary British novel.” Andrzej Gasiorek, University of Birmingham

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