Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of English

First Advisor

Robert L. McLaughlin


This project seeks to substantiate a key ambivalence at the heart of contemporary literature: what does it mean to "return" to politics? Critics of contemporary literature have outlined the new literary aesthetic, using social and political engagement as a key component in distinguishing the contemporary novel from its postmodern predecessor. This project, in response to this claim, will examine both the discursive and representation politics of two landmark postmodern novels, Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow and Don DeLillo's Libra, while examining Jennifer Eganâ??s A Visit from the Goon Squad as a descendent of this literary lineage. This project argues that the techniques and language for representing political power has remained relatively stable throughout the last 50 years' with paranoiac characters, omnipresent surveillance, mystified power structures, evocations of the panopticon and ideological co-optation. Instead, the shift in political "engagement" exists in the shift from concepts of agency, with postmodern novels traditionally leveling and displacing agency, whereas Egan's novel represents the shift toward reclaiming agency in the novel.


Imported from ProQuest Poling_ilstu_0092N_10726.pdf


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