'Experimental Fiction'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


David James takes on the formal challenges posed by contemporary authors, the permeable boundary between modes of literary realism and experimentalism. Marking a shift away from postmodern inaccessibility, irony, and detachment, he argues that twenty-first century novelists have infused narrative innovation with what he calls “alternative ways of seeing and sensing the world.” Delineating a spectrum of literary experimentalism that includes works by Jennifer Egan, Ben Marcus, Cormac McCarthy, Ottessa Moshfegh, Merritt Tierce, Marilynne Robinson, Joy Williams, and Colson Whitehead, among others, James argues that recent novels engage social, economic, and political change and precarity through distinctive modes of aesthetic and formal mimeticism that reflect twenty-first century contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge companion to twenty-first century American fiction
EditorsJoshua Miller
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781108974288
ISBN (Print)9781108838276, 9781108978705
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameCambridge Companions to Literature


  • precarity
  • apocalptic
  • zombies


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