Rebirth of the Nouveau Roman: 9/11 as a Crisis of Confidence in American Literary Aesthetics


  • Daniel Davis Wood University of Melbourne


Parole chiave:

American literature, post-9/11 fiction, realism, nouveau roman, literary discourse, independent publishing.


This article argues that 9/11 created a crisis of confidence amongst writers of American fiction by problematizing literary realism’s claims to verisimiltude and so undermining it as a plausible and credible mode of fiction. Surveying the post-9/11 debate over the merits and shortcomings of realism, this article suggests that the unlikely beneficiary of this crisis of confidence has been the contemporary nouveau roman, a mode of fiction that originates from within the literary traditions of continental Europe. The emergence of writers, publishers, reviewers, and readers attracted to the nouveau roman as a mode of literature in opposition to realism—and engaged in its production, evaluation, promotion, and dissemination—seems to signify a widespread dissatisfaction with the predominant American literary response to the crisis of 9/11. Providing a brief history of the emergence of this post-9/11 institutional support for the nouveau roman, this article contends that the nouveau roman requires a place in literary histories of post-9/11 American fiction even if it does not explicitly address the subject of 9/11 itself.


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Biografia autore

Daniel Davis Wood, University of Melbourne

Daniel Davis Wood is a graduate student in Literary Studies at the University of Melbourne, where he also tutors and lectures in American Literature. His research interests include avant-garde American literature, American popular culture, and the myth and literature of the American frontier. His recent publications include articles on the fiction of Eudora Welty, Dave Eggers, Jamaica Kincaid, and Herman Melville, and essays on David Foster Wallace, Vladimir Nabokov, Cormac McCarthy, Tom McCarthy, and Ernest Hemingway.




Come citare

Davis Wood, Daniel. 2011. «Rebirth of the Nouveau Roman: 9/11 As a Crisis of Confidence in American Literary Aesthetics». Altre Modernità, settembre, 134-45.



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