Vote with a Bullet
Title Details

19th August 2021

200 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

Series: European Studies in North American Literature and Culture

Imprint: Camden House

Vote with a Bullet

Assassination in American Fiction

by Sascha Pöhlmann

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Conceptualizes the genre of American assassination fiction as a dramatization of the tension between individualism and mass society in US culture.
Vote with a Bullet is the first systematic study of assassination in American fiction. It proffers not only a fundamental overview of the genre but also an argument about its larger cultural, aesthetic, and political significance in the present moment as well as in the respective historical contexts of the works themselves.
The study argues that American assassination fiction is a symbolic condensation of the larger conflict between individual and society that is at the heart of modern democracy, and that has been especially contested in the democratic culture of the US. Starting with Henry James's The Princess Casamassima (1886) and ending with Noah Hawley's The Good Father (2012), the chapters analyze twelve works ranging from canonical classics to popular genre fiction. A conclusion considers Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day (2006). The book describes the loose continuum of assassination fiction as an imaginary laboratory in which fantasies of individual empowerment and social unity play out in different ways, negotiating the tension between individualism and mass society in a democracy that is based on the former but must restrict it to preserve the latter. Furthermore, the study connects the imaginary of assassination with a variety of related themes such as hegemonic masculinity and whiteness, electoral and non-electoral political choice, agency panic, subjectivity, as well as conspiracies and conspiracy theory.
Introduction: Individual and Society
1. Henry James, The Princess Casamassima (1886)
2. Jack London, The Assassination Bureau, Ltd. (1910/63)
3. Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men (1946)
4. Philip K. Dick, Solar Lottery (1955)
5. Richard Condon, The Manchurian Candidate (1959)
6. Loren Singer, The Parallax View (1970)
7. Don DeLillo, Libra (1988)
8. Stephen King, The Dead Zone (1979)
9. Stephen King, 11/22/63 (2011)
10. Mark Costello, Big If (2002)
11. Nicholson Baker, Checkpoint (2004)
12. Noah Hawley, The Good Father (2012)
Conclusion
Works Cited
Index

Sascha Pöhlmann is Professor of American Literary
History at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich.

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Title Details

19th August 2021

200 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

Series: European Studies in North American Literature and Culture

Imprint: Camden House