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Publications Book Reviews
Tibor Zilka (Ed.), Tracing Literary Postmodernism

Tibor Zilka (Ed.), Tracing Literary Postmodernism (Nitra: University of Constantine the Philosopher Faculty of Humanities ULUK, 1998). Pb. 220. ISBN: 80-8050-143-2.

This is a collection of papers given at a conference in Nitra in 1996. As the title suggests, most are concerned with defining and periodizing postmodernism.

The good thing about the book is that, while many of the articles address the concept in relation to familiar texts, they also tackle lesser known, Slovakian material. Some go so far as to undermine the assumptions we make about contemporary culture. For instance, one makes the point that challenges to the high/low hierarchy of the kind famously articulated by Fiedler in 60s America, "date back to antiquity."

Even when the essays focus an authors traditionally discussed by historians of postmodernity, they often do so from fresh perspectives. Though there are papers on canonical authors like Barth, Barthelme, Irving, Roth and Vonnegut, many of these seek to qualify the critical consensus. One essay on Roth, for example, argues that his first truly 'postmodern' novel is Sabbath's Theatre (1995) whereas most Roth scholars would probably argue that his work has been informed by the spirit of postmodernism for decades.

It depends, of course, on how you define the term and this piece, together with a few others, would have benefited from a more developed theoretical context. In fact many key theorists - like Jameson and Baudrillard - scarcely feature at all in the book. Another shortcoming is that, while most of the articles are in English, there does occasionally seem to be a problem with translation. The phrasing isn't always lucid and this, combined with a number of typos and errors in the text, means it is often difficult to follow. Still, there is much to praise in the book and on the whole I think it makes a useful contribution to the debate.

Paul McDonald
University of Wolverhampton


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Lausanne, 2 and 3 November 2018

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University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, 9-11 July 2018, Georgia USA

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Central European University and the University of Debrecen, 27-28 April 2018, Budapest, Hungary

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University College Dublin

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European Journal of American Studies

The European Journal of American Studies is the official journal of EAAS. It welcomes contributions from Americanists in Europe and elsewhere and aims at making available state-of-the-art research on all aspects of United States culture and society.

Read more at http://ejas.revues.org/.

European Views of the United States

European Views of the United States is the official book series of the EAAS.9783825365783       

We are proud to announce volumes 8, 9, 10 of the series:

Tanrisever, Ahu. Fathers, Warriors, and Vigilantes: Post-Heroism and the US Cultural Imaginary in the Twenty-First Century, vol. 10, 2016 (Rob Kroes Publication Award 2015).

Intercontinental Crosscurrents: Women's Networks across Europe and the Americas, eds. Julia Nitz, Sandra H. Petrulionis, and Theresa Schön, vol. 9, 2016.

America: Justice, Conflict, War, eds. Amanda Gilroy and Marietta Messmer, vol. 8, 2016 (The Hague Conference 2014).

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