By Mitchum Huehls
After critique' identifies an ontological flip in modern U.S. fiction that distinguishes our present literary second from either postmodernism and so-called post-postmodernism. This flip to ontology takes many kinds, yet usually After Critique highlights a physique of literature-work from Colson Whitehead, Uzodinma Iweala, Karen Yamasthia, Helena Viramontes, Percival Everett, Mat Johnson, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Tom McCarthy-that favors presence over absence, being over that means, and connection over reference. those authors' curiosity in generating literary price ontologically instead of representationally stems from their feel that neoliberalism's capacious snatch on modern language and discourse-its skill to manage either side of a conceptual debate or argument-has made it approximately very unlikely to jot down past neoliberalism's grip. this can be relatively distressing for authors invested in modern politics as neoliberalism renders any variety of political difficulties circularly undecidable.0Taking up 4 various political themes-human rights, the relation among private and non-private house, racial justice, and environmentalism-After Critique means that the ontological types rising in modern U.S. fiction articulate a model of politics that would effectively sidestep neoliberal appropriation. this can be a politics which replaces critique and its reliance on illustration with ontology and its ever-shifting configurations and assemblages. Read more...
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Additional resources for After critique. Twenty-first-century fiction in a neoliberal age
McGurl carefully acknowledges that traces of the exomodern are woven throughout modernism and postmodernism, and he also observes that exomodernism is more of a nebulous sensitivity to human insignificance than it is a discrete aesthetic mode or historical period. Nevertheless, he also grants it the power “to crack open the carapace of human self-concern, exposing it to the idea, and maybe even the fact, of its external ontological preconditions, its ground” (380). For McGurl, this occurs primarily through the human’s confrontation with a “new cultural geology” that positions the human relative to billions of years of geologic time and space.
A better question is, Which approach will be most helpful given the impasse in critical representation that the neoliberal circle exploits and exacerbates? And I think recent contemporary fiction, with its turn away from critique, has been asking the same question and similarly concluding that we can no longer afford to approach neoliberalism as a representational problem, as an ideological vision of the world requiring our critical engagement. Instead, After Critique sees its contemporary literary archive introducing a productive wrinkle into neoliberal totality by considering, not the Marxist alternative to capitalism, but ontology’s alternative to standard representational forms.
First, there has been 24 After Critique a renewed interest in exploring the influence of objects on the world, particularly in the cultural sphere. Content to examine objects internal to literary representation, however, this object-oriented approach to literature—frequently operating under the rubric of “material cultures”—tends to neglect the ontology of literature itself. A second approach, proffered by Harman, radically jettisons the representational properties of literature altogether, preferring instead to approach texts as a philosopher might consider any other object in the world: by discerning and differentiating its primary and secondary properties.