Existentialist Engagement in Wallace, Eggers and Foer: A Philosophical Analysis of Contemporary American Literature

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9781501322679: Existentialist Engagement in Wallace, Eggers and Foer: A Philosophical Analysis of Contemporary American Literature

The novels of David Foster Wallace, Dave Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer are increasingly regarded as representing a new trend, an 'aesthetic sea change' in contemporary American literature. 'Post-postmodernism' and 'New Sincerity' are just two of the labels that have been attached to this trend. But what do these labels mean? What characterizes and connects these novels?

Den Dulk shows that the connection between these works lies in their shared philosophical dimension. On the one hand, they portray excessive self-reflection and endless irony as the two main problems of contemporary Western life. On the other hand, the novels embody an attempt to overcome these problems: sincerity, reality-commitment and community are portrayed as the virtues needed to achieve a meaningful life.

This shared philosophical dimension is analyzed by viewing the novels in light of the existentialist philosophies of Søren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Albert Camus.

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About the Author:

Allard den Dulk is Lecturer in Philosophy, Literature and Film at Amsterdam University College, The Netherlands.

Review:

"In this important philosophical study ... Allard den Dulk (Amsterdam University College) provides a timely contribution to the debates surrounding what comes 'after' postmodernism ... Den Dulk has provided a valuable contribution to Wallace Studies specifically. More generally, his book is an admirable, stoic defence of the traditional "function of literature" ... that attempts to engage with reality and thus "realize a meaningful, human life". - Iain Willaims, 49th Parallel: An Interdisciplinary Journal of North American Studies

"One hears a great deal of flimsy talk about the ‘new sincerity’ in American literary fiction. In Existentialist Engagement in Wallace, Eggers, and Foer, Allard den Dulk transforms that flimsy talk into rigorous, methodical scholarship. Expanding on his already important work on David Foster Wallace and Soren Kierkegaard, den Dulk walks the reader through not only the key novels of his three primary fiction writers but also the foundational existentialist texts that inform these groundbreaking novels. In these lucid close readings, den Dulk demonstrates that Wallace and company aren't just trying to connect with readers; rather, they are conducting an informed and urgent existentialist critique of postmodernism and poststructuralism." - Marshall Boswell, Professor and Chair of English, Rhodes College, USA, author of Understanding David Foster Wallace, and editor of David Foster Wallace and “The Long Thing”

"Existentialist Engagement in Wallace, Eggers and Foer is an intoxicating journey through the philosophical underpinnings in the fiction of David Foster Wallace, Dave Eggers, and Jonathan Safran Foer. With gusto, Allard Den Dulk steers the reader through a postmodern landscape of 'hyperreflexivity and endless irony.' Yet where we may expect a dull and easy acceptance of thrill-seeking nihilism, Den Dulk's conclusion is more passionate and surprising. Existentialist Engagement makes philosophy riveting again. This book is required reading for anyone who wants to understand 21st-century American fiction and who can stomach a thrilling ride." - Diederik Oostdijk, Professor of English and American Literature, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands

"Allard den Dulk has written the best study I’ve read of the vexed intersection of sincerity, hyperreflexivity, and community in contemporary American fiction. Drawing on a sequence of unpublished interviews with Eggers, Foer, and Wallace, and matching those insights to a philosophically informed analysis, den Dulk gives us a powerful way to think about Wallace’s legacy and the changing topography of the American novel." - Stephen J. Burn, Reader in American Literature, University of Glasgow, UK

"Allard den Dulk’s book is a thorough and insightful study of some of America’s most influential contemporary novelists. Reading their work with great attention, Den Dulk rediscovers exitentialist philosophy as being more relevant than ever for the understanding of the world of today, as it is fathomed by Wallace, Eggers and Foer. A highly stimulating intellectual adventure." - Ger Groot, Associate Professor of Philosophy of Culture and Philosophical Anthropology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

“Because of den Dulk’s careful attention to philosophical influences, nuanced readings of how Wallace, Eggers, and Foer build from such influences to address existential struggles in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century, and careful renderings of consistent literary thematic emphases on sincerity and community, his monograph will appeal to scholars invested in providing a more substantial philosophical basis for literature of the so-called ‘new sincerity’.” - This Year’s Work in English Studies

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. The novels of David Foster Wallace, Dave Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer are increasingly regarded as representing a new trend, an `aesthetic sea change in contemporary American literature. `Post-postmodernism and `New Sincerity are just two of the labels that have been attached to this trend. But what do these labels mean? What characterizes and connects these novels? Den Dulk shows that the connection between these works lies in their shared philosophical dimension. On the one hand, they portray excessive self-reflection and endless irony as the two main problems of contemporary Western life. On the other hand, the novels embody an attempt to overcome these problems: sincerity, reality-commitment and community are portrayed as the virtues needed to achieve a meaningful life. This shared philosophical dimension is analyzed by viewing the novels in light of the existentialist philosophies of Soren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Albert Camus. Bookseller Inventory # AAW9781501322679

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. The novels of David Foster Wallace, Dave Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer are increasingly regarded as representing a new trend, an `aesthetic sea change in contemporary American literature. `Post-postmodernism and `New Sincerity are just two of the labels that have been attached to this trend. But what do these labels mean? What characterizes and connects these novels? Den Dulk shows that the connection between these works lies in their shared philosophical dimension. On the one hand, they portray excessive self-reflection and endless irony as the two main problems of contemporary Western life. On the other hand, the novels embody an attempt to overcome these problems: sincerity, reality-commitment and community are portrayed as the virtues needed to achieve a meaningful life. This shared philosophical dimension is analyzed by viewing the novels in light of the existentialist philosophies of Soren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Albert Camus. Bookseller Inventory # AAW9781501322679

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Book Description Bloomsbury Academic. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 320 pages. The novels of David Foster Wallace, Dave Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer are increasingly regarded as representing a new trend, an aesthetic sea change in contemporary American literature. Post-postmodernism and New Sincerity are just two of the labels that have been attached to this trend. But what do these labels mean What characterizes and connects these novels Den Dulk shows that the connection between these works lies in their shared philosophical dimension. On the one hand, they portray excessive self-reflection and endless irony as the two main problems of contemporary Western life. On the other hand, the novels embody an attempt to overcome these problems: sincerity, reality-commitment and community are portrayed as the virtues needed to achieve a meaningful life. This shared philosophical dimension is analyzed by viewing the novels in light of the existentialist philosophies of Sren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Albert Camus. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9781501322679

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