Literary Criticism

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Contemporary American Fiction in the Embrace of the Digital Age


Beatrice Pire is an Associate Professor in American literature at Sorbonne-Nouvelle University in Paris. Her research area is American fiction after 1945 and postmodernism.

Pierre-Louis Patoine is an Assistant professor of American literature at the Sorbonne-Nouvelle, co-director of the Science/Literature research group ( and co-editor of the journal

Arnaud Regnauld is professor of American literature and Vice-President for research at Paris VIII University. He specializes in digital humanities and translation studies.Author Text to Follow

This collection aims to examine the relationship between American fiction and innovations that marked the first decades of the 21st century: the Internet, social media, smart objects and environments, artificial intelligence, nanotechnologies, genetic engineering and other biotechnologies, transhumanism. These technological innovations redefine the way we live in and imagine our world, interact with each other and understand the human being in his or her ever closer relationship to the machine – a human being no longer, as in the past, cared for or repaired, but now enhanced or replaced. What about our artistic and cultural practices? Are these recent advances changing language and literature? How is fiction transformed by technological progress and what representations of progress can it oppose? Can fiction offer a critique of the new media and the upheavals they precipitate? How does the temporality of literature respond to a technical time subjected to the imperative of efficiency, where the present is a slave to the future? Do virtual worlds challenge the primacy of literary fiction as a privileged mode of escape from daily life? In a context where software can generate literary works, can the force of poetical advent still oppose algorithmic logics? What becomes of the body in a world in which its technical extensions increase the externalization of its cognitive functions in media artifacts and digital networks? In order to explore these questions, scholars here investigate the American fiction of Russel Banks, Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Lethem, Tao Lin, Richard Powers, Kenneth Goldsmith, Jennifer Egan or Jonathan Franzen as well as the Cyberpunk genre and the Neuronovel.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78976-083-5
Hardback Price: £70.00 / $89.95
Release Date: February 2022 
Page Extent / Format: 224 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No




Béatrice Pire

Arnaud Regnauld

Pierre-Louis Patoine

Olga Thierbach-McLean: “Updating the Future to the Present: The Reboot of Cyberpunk as Social Criticism”

Lejla Kucukalic: “American Fiction in the Age of Biotechnology”

Héloise Thomas: “Technologies of Storytelling at the End of the World: Rethinking Technology in Sam J. Miller’s Blackfish City

Béatrice Pire: “Karl Kraus, Jonathan Franzen, Purity and Transparency”

Sophie Chapuis: “Streams of cyber-consciousness: Tao Lin’s inquiry into the digital self”

David Buehrer: “A Pilgrim’s Progress for the Digital, Post-Human(ist) Age?: Computer Technology,

Pornography, and Allegorical Representation in Russell Banks’s Lost Memory of Skin

Aliette Ventéjoux: “The American Zeitgeist in Don DeLillo’s ‘Hammer and Sickle’”

Jessica Hallen Hanssen: “David Foster Wallace’s Oblivion and the Limits of Technology”

Yves Abrioux: “Literacy, critique and affect in Kenneth Goldsmith’s ‘radio’ books”

Camelia Raghinaru: “Technological Anxiety in Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City

Jason Shrontz: “ Paranoia of (Dis)Connection: Mediation and Corporeality in Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad

The Editors and Contributors


Review Quotes to Follow

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