Identity, Politics and the Novel

The Aesthetic Moment

Ian Fraser

Identity, Politics and the Novel

Ian Fraser

Distributed for University of Wales Press

240 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth $32.00 ISBN: 9780708326060 Published August 2013 For sale in North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand only
Identity, Politics and the Novel is a diverse and wide-ranging book that offers an innovative and unique approach to several works by four critically acclaimed novelists: Milan Kundera, Ian McEwan, Michel Houellebecq, and J. M. Coetzee. Drawing from classical and contemporary political, philosophical, and social theory—including foundational texts by Adorno, Aquinas, Camus, Hegel, and Nietzsche—Ian Fraser tracks these novelists’ use of the aesthetic self and, in turn,  develops the notion of a Marxist aesthetic identity through the medium of contemporary fiction.



Part I: Milan Kundera

      1. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Friedrich Nietzsche and Art as Self-creation

      2. Identity: G. W. F. Hegel’s Theory of Recognition

Part II: Ian McEwan

      3. Atonement: E. P. Thompson and Class Experience

      4. Saturday: Julia Kristeva on Abjection

Part III: Michel Houellebacq

      5. Atomised: Henri Lefebvre and Alienation

      6. Platform: Albert Camus and the Absurd

Part IV: J. M. Coetzee

      7. Disgrace: Thomas Aquinas and the Path to Prudence

      8. Diary of a Bad Year: Theodor Adorno on Commitment

      9. Conclusion: The Aesthetic Moment




Review Quotes
Gary Browning, Oxford Brookes University
“This is a brave and ambitious book that combines theoretical sophistication with a direct, positive engagement with literature. It offers a critical engagement with outstanding examples of contemporary literature, with a view to identifying how works by Kundera, McEwan, Houellebecq, and Coetzee present aspects of an aesthetic self, engendering epiphanic responses that allow for radical and intense changes in political and philosophical awareness. The readings of the novels are direct, plausible, and informed by considerable philosophical acuity. This is a book that is well worth reading.”
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