Reading the new ruins: loss, mourning, and melancholy in dissident gardens

Rowcroft, Andrew (2018) Reading the new ruins: loss, mourning, and melancholy in dissident gardens. C21 Literature: Journal of 21st-Century Writings, 5 (3). ISSN 2045-5224

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This article argues Jonathan Lethem’s Dissident Gardens (2013) possesses the workings of a critical apprehension set against the more violent ends and commemorative strictures of mourning, loss, and despair. Typically, twentieth-century literary works which actively intervene in the past risk either commemorating political failure and defeat or mourning the trauma of a collective agony that is repeatedly experienced. Instead, I propose twenty-first century fiction produced at a certain historical, cultural, and geographical remove from the centres of state-socialism and communist atrocity articulates an ability to properly trace the political, psychological, and aesthetic contours of left loss in more reparative ways. Specifically, this article is concerned with the ways in which Lethem’s text stages a series of cultural practices through which it can express and work through left loss, disappointment, injury and despair. It sets out to juxtapose, and place into dialogue, key thematic strands from Lethem’s novel with critical accounts of mourning, memory, and loss by Freud and other psychoanalytic theorists.

Keywords:Marxism and literature, American literature, Freud
Subjects:T Eastern, Asiatic, African, American and Australasian Languages, Literature and related subjects > T700 American studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:29955
Deposited On:08 Dec 2017 15:40

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