Terrorism has long been a popular subject for American fiction writers. This book argues that terrorism in 1990s novels by Paul Auster, Philip Roth, and Bret Easton Ellis serves as a key trope to interrogate the limits of writing and the power of literature. Based on the complex literary and philosophical thought of Maurice Blanchot, this study deals with the writer’s terrorist temptation, language’s investment in violence, and literature’s negotiation of radical alterity. Auster’s, Roth’s, and Ellis’s novels elucidate contemporary political and economic developments as well as our cultural fear of, and fascination with, terrorism. The writing of terrorism can thus become the foundation of a different politics where, according to Maurice Blanchot, «there is no explosion except a book.»
About the author
Christian Kloeckner teaches North American literature and culture at the University of Bonn. His research interests include literature and political violence, (post-)modernist poetry, memorial culture, discourses of race and class, and the intersections of financialization, debt, and nostalgia in U.S. culture.
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