Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Covert SphereSecrecy, Fiction, and the National Security State$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Timothy Melley

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451232

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451232.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM Cornell University Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.cornell.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Cornell University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in Cornell for personal use. date: 12 May 2021

Postmodern Amnesia

Postmodern Amnesia

(p.171) 5 Postmodern Amnesia
The Covert Sphere

Timothy Melley

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the role of amnesia in covert action stories. Amnesia is a popular way of exploring the historical implications of postmodern theory. Also, the amnesic assassin, such as from Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate (1959) and the Bourne trilogy, is a figure for public half-knowledge of U.S. foreign policy. The chapter then turns to Tim O'Brien's novel of the My Lai massacre, In the Lake of the Woods (1995). Through a story of profound individual and national amnesia, O'Brien attempts to conceptualize the effects of covert state action on U.S. cultural memory. The novel and its source materials also suggest that public amnesia about U.S. foreign policy must be alleviated by a combination of narrative “trickery” and a postmodern emphasis on the difficulty of knowing.

Keywords:   amnesia, postmodern theory, U.S. foreign policy, national amnesia, U.S. cultural memory, public amnesia

Cornell Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.