Blissful Realism: Saul Bellow, John Updike, and the Modern/Postmodern Divide

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/312513
Title:
Blissful Realism: Saul Bellow, John Updike, and the Modern/Postmodern Divide
Author:
Jansen, Todd Edward
Issue Date:
2013
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation examines the reaction of many post-WWII American authors against the modernist privileging of form. These authors predicate their response upon what I call "blissful realism," a term which reflects an unlikely conflation of the critical work of Roland Barthes and Georg Lukács. I argue that Saul Bellow and John Updike are exemplars of a larger post-war contingent, including Flannery O'Conner, Bernard Malamud, Joyce Carol Oates, and John Cheever, to name a few, who use the liminal space between the waning of modernism and a burgeoning postmodern sensibility to complicate and critique modernist formalism while exploring (and often presciently critiquing) the nascent ontological inclinations of postmodernism. The characters within their novels endeavor to declare and maintain their autonomy by, through, and against their contact with a cold reality and defining ideological structures. This tension is mirrored in the aesthetic project of the authors as they work by, through, and against modernist strictures. This dissertation also offers a comparison between Bellow and Updike and the work of Ralph Ellison and Vladimir Nabokov in an effort to distinguish and delineate blissful realism from "late modernism." The concluding chapter posits that recent "post-postmodern" work draws heavily on its blissful realist predecessors. Many contemporary authors' concerns with subjective autonomy, authenticity, and notions of transcendence, in spite of postmodern declarations to the contrary, offer different sensibilities and political possibilities that turn away from irony, play, and image toward agency, meaning, and morality.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
bliss; modernism; postmodernism; realism; Updike; English; Bellow
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; English
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Dryden, Edgar

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleBlissful Realism: Saul Bellow, John Updike, and the Modern/Postmodern Divideen_US
dc.creatorJansen, Todd Edwarden_US
dc.contributor.authorJansen, Todd Edwarden_US
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examines the reaction of many post-WWII American authors against the modernist privileging of form. These authors predicate their response upon what I call "blissful realism," a term which reflects an unlikely conflation of the critical work of Roland Barthes and Georg Lukács. I argue that Saul Bellow and John Updike are exemplars of a larger post-war contingent, including Flannery O'Conner, Bernard Malamud, Joyce Carol Oates, and John Cheever, to name a few, who use the liminal space between the waning of modernism and a burgeoning postmodern sensibility to complicate and critique modernist formalism while exploring (and often presciently critiquing) the nascent ontological inclinations of postmodernism. The characters within their novels endeavor to declare and maintain their autonomy by, through, and against their contact with a cold reality and defining ideological structures. This tension is mirrored in the aesthetic project of the authors as they work by, through, and against modernist strictures. This dissertation also offers a comparison between Bellow and Updike and the work of Ralph Ellison and Vladimir Nabokov in an effort to distinguish and delineate blissful realism from "late modernism." The concluding chapter posits that recent "post-postmodern" work draws heavily on its blissful realist predecessors. Many contemporary authors' concerns with subjective autonomy, authenticity, and notions of transcendence, in spite of postmodern declarations to the contrary, offer different sensibilities and political possibilities that turn away from irony, play, and image toward agency, meaning, and morality.en_US
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectblissen_US
dc.subjectmodernismen_US
dc.subjectpostmodernismen_US
dc.subjectrealismen_US
dc.subjectUpdikeen_US
dc.subjectEnglishen_US
dc.subjectBellowen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorDryden, Edgaren_US
dc.contributor.committeememberDryden, Edgaren_US
dc.contributor.committeememberScruggs, Charlesen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMelillo, Johnen_US
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