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Spaces of Expression and Repression in Post-Millennial North-American Literature and Visual Culture

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Edited By Izabella Kimak and Julia Nikiel

The essays included in this book offer an overview of literary works, films, TV series, and computer games, which reflect current social and political developments since the beginning of this century. The contributions intend to x-ray the most crucial aspects of contemporary North-American literature and culture. Addressing a variety of media, the authors of the essays probe the many ways in which repression and expression are the primary keywords for understanding contemporary American life and culture.

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Introduction

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The turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries was characterized by events that left an indelible mark on the American mentality, life, and art. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon shattered American sense of security and the belief in American invincibility. A sense of threat was further exacerbated by the economic crisis of 2008 that left hundreds, if not thousands, of people without the protection of home and spawned the Occupy Wall Street movement, an expression of mounting social anger at the economic inequality of the US. As the second decade of the twenty-first century is drawing to its close, feelings of anxiety and tension show no tendency to subside. The world-wide threat of terrorism and the refugee crisis, together with the Donald Trump presidency at home and a sense of insecurity that it generates for millions of Americans, especially undocumented aliens, are heralds of more tension and fear to come.

It comes as no surprise that this overwhelming sense of anxiety has found its reflection in the productions of contemporary American authors and artists. Fiction writers, film makers, and game producers exhibit a proclivity to address in their works issues of oppression, trauma, sexual liminality, economic instability, surveillance and control, political repression and persecution. The current interest in the topic of repression, with its many facets and nuances, is paralleled by a growing preoccupation with various novel modes of expression, both on the level of content and form. The essays...

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