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Twenty-first-century British Fiction

The new millennium has been a period of rapid change and under this stimulus British fiction has evolved in new and sometimes unpredictable directions. It is the mercurial nature of its subject matter, which makes the study of contemporary British fiction both so dynamic and yet so challenging. New voices, forms and themes sometimes require the discarding of old critical frameworks and the creation of new. With this in mind we have endeavoured to create a truly forward-thinking collection that not only maps the journey of British fiction in the new millennium so far, but which also hints at the path ahead.

The book includes discussion of The Cosmopolitan Novel, Comics, Neo-Victorian Fiction, Historical Fiction, London, Psychogeography, Environmental Crisis, Pastoral, Digital Technologies, Gaming, Cybernetics, Uncreativity, Second-Person Narratives, Oral Culture, David Mitchell, Gordon Burn, David Peace, Andrew O'Hagan, Hilary Mantel, Scarlett Thomas, China Miéville, Salman Rushdie, Indra Sinha, Jeff Noon, and Ali Smith.


Fiction in a Fictionalized Society (p. 1)
Joseph Brooker
What We Talk About When We Talk About Twenty-first-century British Fiction (p. 11)
Bianca Leggett and Tony Venezia
Part I: Engagements
The British Cosmopolitan Novel: A Survey (p. 17)
Bianca Leggett
British Comics in the Early Twenty-first Century (p. 37)
Ian Hague
Part II: Histories
Gothicizing History: Traumatic Doubling, Repetition, and Return in Recent British Neo-Victorian Fiction (p. 61_
Marie-Luise Kohlke
Remembering the 1980s in David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green (p. 83)
Christopher Vardy
All Great Houses Resemble Crimes: Issues of Housing in the Texts of Gordon Burn, David Peace and Andrew O’Hagan (p. 109)
Rhona Gordon
Hilary Mantel and the Historical Novel (p. 129)
Sara Knox
Part III: Spaces
Contemporary British Fiction, Environmental Crisis and the Pastoral (p. 151)
Deborah Lilley
Observing London: From Performer to Spectator (p. 175)
Emma Hayward
China Miéville and the Limits of Psychogeography (p. 197)
Tony Venezia
Part IV: Technologies
The End of Mr. Y or the End of the Book? Digital Technologies and the Twenty-first-century British Novel (p. 221)
Neal Kirk
Playing With Fire: Gaming, Cybernetics and Fictional Form in Luka and the Fire of Life and The Cybergypsies (p. 245)
Marianne Corrigan
Jeff Noon and the Contemporary Aesthetics of Uncreativity (p. 265)
Kaja Marczewska
Part V: Forms
You-niversal Love: Desire, Intimacy and the Second Person in Ali Smith’s Short Fiction (p. 293)
Tory Young
What no'un alive und'stands: David Mitchell's Twenty-First-Century Recontextualization of Oral Culture (p. 313)
Dorothy Butchard
Afterword: Enduring Periodicity (p. 333)
David James
Index (p. 341)