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California and the melancholic American identity in Joan didion's novels : exiled from eden

Author: Katarzyna Nowak-McNeice
Publisher: London : Routledge, 2018.
Series: Literary criticism and cultural theory
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : English : 1stView all editions and formats
Summary:
California and the Melancholic American Identity in Joan Didion's Novels: Exiled from Edenfocuses on the concept of Californian identity in the fiction of Joan Didion. This identity is understood as melancholic, in the sense that the critics following the tradition of both Sigmund Freud and Walter Benjamin use the word. The book traces the progress of the way Californian identity is portrayed in Joan Didion's  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Criticism, interpretation, etc
Additional Physical Format: Print version :
Named Person: Joan Didion; Joan Didion
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Katarzyna Nowak-McNeice
ISBN: 9780429655319 0429655312 9780429657757 0429657757 9780429652875 0429652879 9780429025631 0429025637
OCLC Number: 1083162882
Notes: Entry
Description: 1 online resource
Contents: Cover; Half Title; Series Page; Title Page; Copyright Page; Dedication; Contents; Acknowledgments; Introduction; Part One: Joan Didion, the Native Daughter; Didion the Sacramentan, Californian, Westerner; Critical Reception; Joan Didion's Melancholy California; Part Two: Californian Losses and Melancholia; The Myth of an Empty Frontier; How Joan Didion Expelled Herself from Paradise; Racial Melancholia and the Emergence of Conscience; The Social Dimension of Melancholia; 1 The Loss of Nature; Problems with American Nature; Problems with the Garden of Eden; The Paradoxes of Nature Writing to Remember and to RedeemPioneers and Ancestors; Purification through Fire; The Howling Wilderness: The California Desert; Turner's and Didion's Frontierless West; 2 The Loss of History; Manifest Destiny and Its Fulfillment in California; Freedom from History; History, Nature, and Hysteria; "A History of Accidents"; "You Can't Call This a Bad Place"; The Freeway Experience; Escaping the Meaninglessness of History; 3 The Loss of Ethics; The Emergence of Conscience; The Melancholic Donner Party; Desire and the Wagon-Train Morality; Betrayals of Familial Loyalty; Life as Gambling Parental InfluenceParental Transgressions; 4 The Loss of Language; Looking Awry at Conscience and Loss; The Language of Melancholia; The Limits of Language; Estrangement from the Body; Translation and Betrayal; The Modern Pioneers and the Loss of Memory; The Language of Democracy; Conclusions; Works Cited; Index
Series Title: Literary criticism and cultural theory
Responsibility: Katarzyna Nowak McNeice.

Abstract:

California and the Melancholic American Identity in Joan Didion's Novels: Exiled from Edenfocuses on the concept of Californian identity in the fiction of Joan Didion. This identity is understood as melancholic, in the sense that the critics following the tradition of both Sigmund Freud and Walter Benjamin use the word. The book traces the progress of the way Californian identity is portrayed in Joan Didion's novels, starting with the first two in which California plays the central role, Run River and Play It As It Lays, through A Book of Common Prayer to Democracy and The Last Thing He Wanted, where California functions only as a distant point of reference, receding to the background of Didion's interests. Curiously enough, Didion presents Californian history as a history of white settlement, disregarding whole chapters of the history of the region in which the Californios and Native Americans, among other groups, played a crucial role: it is this reticence that the monograph sees as the main problem of Didion's fiction and presents it as the silent center of gravity in Didion's oeuvre. The monograph proposes to see the melancholy expressed by Didion's fiction organized into four losses: of Nature, History, Ethics, and Language; around which the main analytical chapters are constructed. What remains unrepresented and silenced comes back to haunt Didion's fiction, and it results in a melancholic portrayal of California and its identity - which is the central theme this monograph addresses.

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