Ethics and Nostalgia in the Contemporary Novel by John J. Su

By John J. Su

Pictures of loss and craving performed a very important position in literary texts written within the later a part of the 20 th century. regardless of deep cultural changes, novelists from Africa, the Caribbean, nice Britain, and the U.S. percentage a feeling that the industrial, social, and political forces linked to overdue modernity have evoked common nostalgia in the groups during which they write. during this unique and wide-ranging research, John J. Su explores the connection among nostalgia and ethics in novels around the English-speaking global. He demanding situations the tendency in literary stories to characterise reminiscence as confident and nostalgia as inevitably adverse. in its place, this publication argues that nostalgic fantasies are the most important to the moral visions offered by means of topical novels. From Jean Rhys to Wole Soyinka and from V. S. Naipaul to Toni Morrison, Su identifies nostalgia as a primary crisis within the twentieth-century novel.

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Chapter 1 Narratives of return: locating ethics in the age of globalization When it comes to being ethical, there is no escaping the imperative of place. – Edward S. Casey, Getting Back into Place Where I was before I came here, that place is real. It’s never going away. Even if the whole farm – every tree and grass blade of it dies. The picture is still there and what’s more, if you go there – you who never was there – if you go there and stand in the place where it was, it will happen again; it will be there for you, waiting for you.

164). Sethe’s association of her murderous act with memories of the Clearing is significant because it is a space with which Paul D has no familiarity. Hence, he is unable to draw upon it for guidance. Nor would he be likely to do so, given his unwillingness to identify himself with a single location. As a result, their ethics are very differently oriented, though both of them would assert that the ideal of freedom is a foundational value. Indeed, this shared value of freedom comes largely from having shared the same space in which freedom was denied, Sweet Home.

The farm said to them. ‘See? ’”30 Yet, if it functions as a “primal place” for the community – providing a coherent model against which the farmers measure their own circumstances – the farmers nonetheless do not follow the model. Indeed, as Milkman discovers, they feel unable to improve their lives. ”31 Morrison’s more recent novel, Paradise (1998), demonstrates the potentially horrific results of individuals who do act on the model associated with their primal places. The memory of the town of Haven, Oklahoma, as it was before the Great Depression is carried by its inhabitants who served in World War II, and it provides an ideal that drives them to survive and to envision a future for themselves.

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