Postmillennial Fiction and Historical Consciousness
Royal Holloway, University of London
Centring around an investigation of the new historiographic modes that are to be found in fiction of the postmillennial era, my research will seek establish a dialogue between contemporary literary, professional and popular forms of “history-making”, in order to recontextualise our understanding of literature’s role in the production of contemporary historical consciousness. We can perceive in fictional forms of the twenty-first century a nascent form of historical realism that is, paradoxically, emerging from the very same ground where an uprooting of historical consciousness from its empirical and material grounding came to typify the postmodern moment. As historians grapple with the “objectivity crisis” created by postmodernism, readings of contemporary literary forms offer new possibilities for embedding the now inseparable intimacy between fictional and historical material into the foundations of contemporary historical consciousness and practice, whilst avoiding a retreat into the postmodern sense that history and fiction are one and the same.