The myth of 9/11

Formby, Zoë (2011) The myth of 9/11. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Conceptualisations of modern literary history are premised upon a series of dynastic successions, whereby one is able to trace, albeit simplistically, the evolution of the novel through its realist, modernist and postmodernist manifestations. Considered in this linear manner, the emergence of altered cultural movements is ordinarily attributed to a crisis within the former mood; as society ruptures and alters, existing modes of representation prove inadequate to reflect, or else engage with, the emergent structure of feeling. As an event with far-reaching implications, many critics and cultural commentators have attributed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 with the inception of an altered global mood. Moreover, in the days and weeks following 9/11, the publication of a number of articles penned by authors emphasised the extent to which the event had precipitated a profound crisis in representation. As an ever greater number of articles and studies emerged proclaiming the final death knell of postmodernism and the emergence of a more anxious global mood, so the myth of 9/11 quickly developed.

The thesis rests upon a very simple question: to what extent has 9/11 precipitated a change in the novel? Through examining a wide range of fictions published largely within Britain in the last fifteen years, the study explores and ultimately dispels the assumptions of the myth. Rather than examining the fictional representation of 9/11, the study’s focus is on assessing the significance of the novel after the event, and moreover on interrogating the manner in which the terrorist attacks might have engendered a shift in the contemporary mood that is reflected in the subsequent novels published. Through emphasising the novelistic concerns and themes that transcend the assumed cultural rift, the thesis proposes that the ‘post-9/11 mood’ might more usefully be interpreted as an exacerbation of an already existing structure of feeling that responds to the banal superficiality of the postmodern condition.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Matthews, S.
Head, D.J.
Subjects: P Language and literature > PN Literature (General) > PN 441 Literary history
P Language and literature > PR English literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Item ID: 11900
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2014 09:49
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 01:27

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