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American Thought and Culture in the 21st Century$
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Martin Halliwell and Catherine Morley

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748626014

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748626014.001.0001

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Writing In the Wake of 9/11

Writing In the Wake of 9/11

Chapter:
(p.245) 15. Writing In the Wake of 9/11
Source:
American Thought and Culture in the 21st Century
Author(s):

Catherine Morley

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748626014.003.0016

Focusing on long and short prose pieces which emerged in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, this chapter traces the shift from writers’ personal responses to the events to more considered, longer fictional works. The author, Catherine Morley, observes how many writers felt bereft of purpose after the attacks, unable to find words commensurate with the visual spectacle and psychological devastation of the day. While covering a range of contemporary literary writers including Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith and Jay McInerney, the chapter concentrates on Don DeLillo’s novel Falling Man (2007), John Updike’s Terrorist (2007) and a selection of works from Ulrich Baer’s edited collection, 110 Stories: New York Writers After September 11 (2002), including Siri Hustvedt’s short essay on the inefficacy of language in the wake of trauma. The discussion of DeLillo and Updike addresses themes such as performance, spectacle, memory, language and the redemptive role of art in the processes of grief.

Keywords:   9/11, Contemporary American Literature, Visual Spectacle, Don DeLillo, John Updike, Siri Hustvedt

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