Cover image for Hybrid fictions : American literature and Generation X
Hybrid fictions : American literature and Generation X
Grassian, Daniel, 1974-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., [2003]

Physical Description:
v, 201 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS374.S67 G73 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Since the 1960s, academics have theorized that literature is on its way to becoming obsolete or, at the very least, has lost part of its power as an influential medium of social and cultural critique. This work argues against that misconception and maintains that contemporary American literature is not only alive and well but has grown in significant ways that reflect changes in American culture during the last twenty years. In addition, this work argues that beginning in the 1980s, a new, allied generation of American writers, born from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, has emerged, whose hybrid fiction blend distinct elements of previous American literary movements and contain divided social, cultural and ethnic allegiances. The author explores psychological, philosophical, ethnic and technological hybridity. The author also argues for the importance of and need for literature in contemporary America and considers its future possibilities in the realms of the Internet and hypertext. David Foster Wallace, Neal Stephenson, Douglas Coupland, Sherman Alexie, William Vollmann, Michele Serros and Dave Eggers are among the writers whose hybrid fictions are discussed.

Author Notes

Daniel Grassian teaches in the English department at Temple University located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

In this study of the current state of American literature, Grassian (English, Temple Univ.) makes a strong case for hybridity and eclecticism as its most distinctive features, combining aspects of earlier American literary movements with conflicting viewpoints and blended forms. Analyzing the works of writers born from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, Grassian maintains that American literature has grown significantly in the last two decades, showing signs of various hybridities-ethnic, psychological, philosophical, political, and technological. Sherman Alexie, Douglas Coupland, Dave Eggers, Richard Powers, Michele Serros, Neal Stephenson, William Vollmann, and David Foster Wallace each receive extended treatment. Grassian suggests that hybridity may be a transitional trend to a new literary movement but is more likely to endure for a while as it gives the artist great freedom. This study enriches the reader through its careful consideration of the broad range of hybridities in the works of each writer and in works by writers alluded to in passing. Highly recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Carolyn M. Craft, Longwood Univ., Farmville, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In this intelligent but somewhat arcane book, Grassian (Temple Univ.) argues that literature is in no greater danger of expiring in the hands of contemporary youth (as both readers and writers) than it was in earlier eras. Treating the works of such young and relatively obscure authors as David Foster Wallace, Neal Stephenson, Douglas Coupland, Sherman Alexie, William Vollman, Michele Serros, Richard Powers, and Dave Eggers, Grassian advances the premise that literature since the 1960s can no longer be divided by clearly defined periods or by such categories as realism, naturalism, modernism, or postmodernism. "Instead," he writes, "we have entered a period of literary eclecticism and hybrid fictions, which utilize a wide variety of literary approaches, have conflicting viewpoints and blend media and technological forms." He applies this observation particularly to the years since 1980. After a brief historical review of such 20th-century literary movements as modernist, proletarian and Beat writing, Grassian treats in detail the works of the above writers, ending with a chapter titled "Hypertext, the Internet, and the Future of Printed Fiction." ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Libraries maintaining complete American literature collections; upper-division undergraduates through faculty. B. H. Leeds Central Connecticut State University

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1 From Modernists to Gen Xersp. 7
2 Hybrid Desiresp. 33
3 Hybrid Identities and Conflicting Relationshipsp. 78
4 Ethnic Hybridityp. 100
5 Hybrid Technologiesp. 125
6 Hypertext, the Internet and the Future of Printed Fictionp. 166
Notesp. 179
Bibliographyp. 191
Indexp. 197