Anywhere but Here: The Competing (and Complementary) Postmodern Nostalgias of J. G. Ballard and Douglas Coupland.

Paknadel, Alexis (2011) Anywhere but Here: The Competing (and Complementary) Postmodern Nostalgias of J. G. Ballard and Douglas Coupland. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis addresses postmodern nostalgia in the fictions of J. G. Ballard and Douglas Coupland. By reading them alongside the work of Svetlana Boym, Fredric Jameson, Walter Benjamin and Linda Hutcheon among others, it firstly builds upon and questions Boym's categories of restorative and reflective nostalgia. By taking two authors whose work chronologically straddles the postmodern moment to date, the thesis also demonstrates that nostalgia is one issue over which any consideration of postmodernism as a monadic cultural paradigm can be problematised. It proceeds from the supposition that early postmodern fiction is decidedly anti-nostalgic in tone, whereas recent examples are characterised by a less militant perspective. By placing the authors' texts in dialogue with each other, the piece emphasises nostalgia's ineradicability and its hidden role in anti-nostalgic agendas. To support these claims, the thesis argues that nostalgia is not an indivisible phenomenon. Alighting on and defined by objects which can be set against each other, nostalgia is often pitted against itself in other forms, presupposing a multitude of mutually hostile nostalgias. The nostalgic objects on which the thesis focuses are: colonialism, the North American frontier, the Suburbs, nostalgic consumer objects and Apocalypse. These have been selected over other foci because they are the most pervasive themes in the work of both authors. Colonialism and the North American frontier are exceptions as they are rarely directly pitted against each another in the authors' work. However, they both serve to ground the nostalgic perspectives of both writers, and as such are addressed separately in chapters devoted to a single author. The concluding chapter focuses on the role postmodern irony plays in Ballard and Coupland's work. Explicitly combating nostalgia, irony is exposed as an integral component of any contemporary nostalgic narrative, potentially refining it in the service of a more circumspect contemporary nostalgic.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Lancaster University (United Kingdom), 2011.
?? miaapqcanadian literature.british & irish literature. ??
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02 May 2019 16:30
Last Modified:
10 Dec 2023 01:15