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Aggressive Fictions – Reading the Contemporary American Novel - Cornell Scholarship Online
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Aggressive Fictions: Reading the Contemporary American Novel

Kathryn Hume


A frequent complaint against contemporary American fiction is that too often it puts off readers in ways they find difficult to fathom. Books such as Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho, Katherine Dunn's Geek Love, and Don DeLillo's Underworld seem determined to upset, disgust, or annoy their readers—or to disorient them by shunning traditional plot patterns and character development. This book calls such works “aggressive fiction.” Why would authors risk alienating their readers—and why should readers persevere? Looking beyond the theory-based justifications that critics often provide for suc ... More

Keywords: contemporary American fiction, aggressive fiction, William Burroughs, Kathy Acker, Chuck Palahniuk, Cormac McCarthy, extreme content

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780801450013
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801450013.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kathryn Hume, author
Professor of English, The Pennsylvania State University