Advertisement

Burning Books: Textual Preoccupations of Nuclear and Postmodern Culture

  • Daniel Cordle
Chapter

Abstract

Nuclear literature is surprisingly full of both ransacked libraries and characters who collect books. This chapter charts how, in numerous fictions, these images of books and libraries are used to explore Jacques Derrida’s concept of the “archive”: the written record that defines what it means to be human. Threats to the archive challenge our sense of the human.

They also link overt nuclear fictions to postmodern literature of the 1980s. Discussing the postmodern apocalyptic, metafiction, virtuality and the refusal of closure across many contemporary postmodern texts, including works by J.G. Ballard, Kurt Vonnegut, Maggie Gee, Julian Barnes, Paul Auster and Russell Hoban, the chapter argues that nuclear consciousness is embedded at the heart of the decade’s literature and culture.

Keywords

Short Story Atomic Attack Western Canon Nuclear Text Textual Artefact 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Bibliography

  1. Adams, John Joseph, ed. 2008. Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. San Francisco: Night Shade.Google Scholar
  2. Amis, Martin. 2003b. London Fields. London: Vintage.Google Scholar
  3. Ballard, J.G. 1991. War Fever. London: Paladin.Google Scholar
  4. Ballard, J.G. 2014. Empire of the Sun. London: Fourth Estate. Kindle edition.Google Scholar
  5. Bear, Greg. 2001. Blood Music. London: Gollancz.Google Scholar
  6. Blumenfeld, Yorick. 1983. Jenny: My Diary. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  7. Booth, Martin. 1986. Hiroshima Joe. London: Arrow.Google Scholar
  8. Brin, David. 1987. The Postman. London: Bantam.Google Scholar
  9. Brinkley, William. 1989. The Last Ship. New York: Ballantine.Google Scholar
  10. Cook, Paul. 1985. Duende Meadow. Toronto: Bantam.Google Scholar
  11. DeLillo, Don. 1986. White Noise. London: Picador.Google Scholar
  12. Derrida, Jacques. 1984. No Apocalypse, Not Now (Full Speed Ahead, Seven Missiles, Seven Missives). Trans. Catherine Porter and Philip Lewis. Diacritics 14(2) Summer: 20–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Forman, James D. 1984. Doomsday Plus Twelve. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  14. Gee, Maggie. 1983. The Burning Book. London: Faber.Google Scholar
  15. Gee, Maggie. 1989. Grace. London: Abacus.Google Scholar
  16. Grausam, Daniel. 2011. On Endings: American Postmodern Fiction and the Cold War. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hoban, Russell. 2002. Riddley Walker. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  18. Hunt, Alex. 1998. Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing. The Explicator 56(3): 158–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Johnson, Annabel, and Edgar Johnson. 1984. The Danger Quotient. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  20. Johnson, Denis. 1986. Fiskadoro. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  21. Lawrence, Louise. 1986. Children of Dust. London: Lions Tracks.Google Scholar
  22. Lifton, Robert Jay. 1982. Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  23. Malamud, Bernard. 1983. God’s Grace. Middlesex: Penguin.Google Scholar
  24. McCammon, Robert R. 2011. Swan Song. New York: Open Road. Kindle edition.Google Scholar
  25. McEwan, Ian. 1992. The Child in Time. London: Vintage.Google Scholar
  26. McIntyre, Vonda N. 1979. Dreamsnake. London: Pan.Google Scholar
  27. Palmer, David R. 1984. Emergence. Toronto: Bantam.Google Scholar
  28. Pamela F Service. 1985. Winter of Magic’s Return. New York: Fawcett Juniper.Google Scholar
  29. Robinson, Kim Stanley. 1994. The Wild Shore. London: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  30. Strieber, Whitley, and James Kunetka. 1985. Warday and the Journey Onward. London: Coronet.Google Scholar
  31. Tepper, Sheri S. 1990. The Gate to Women’s Country. London: Corgi.Google Scholar
  32. Wren, M.K. 1990. A Gift Upon the Shore. London: Penguin.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Cordle
    • 1
  1. 1.Nottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations