The etymological affinity between ‘criticism’ and ‘crisis’ has never been more resonant than it is today, when social life is increasingly understood as defined by a succession of overlapping global crises: financial and economic crises; environmental crises; geopolitical crises; terrorist crises; public health crises. But what is the role of literary and cultural criticism in conceptualizing this atmosphere of perpetual crisis? If, as Paul de Man maintained, criticism necessarily exists in a state of crisis, in what ways is this condition intensified at a time when the social formations within which criticism operates and the cultural artefacts that it takes as its objects are themselves pervaded by actual and imagined states of emergency? This book, the first sustained response to these questions, demonstrates the capacity of critical thought, working in dialogue with key narrative texts, to provide penetrating insights into a contemporary landscape of global, manufactured risk. Written by an international team of specialist scholars, the essays in the collection draw on a wide variety of contemporary theoretical, fictional, and cinematic sources, ranging from Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Derrida, and Fredric Jameson to Cormac McCarthy, Ian McEwan, and Lauren Beukes to Ghost and the James Bond and National Treasure series. Appearing in the midst of a phase of extraordinary turbulence in the fabric of our interconnected and interdependent world, the book makes a landmark intervention in debates concerning the cultural ramifications of globalization.
Criticism, Crisis, and Contemporary Narrative Textual Horizons in an Age of Global Risk