Fiction as False Document

Fiction as False Document

The Reception of E.L. Doctorow in the Postmodern Age

John Williams


Hardback out of stock

Camden House



Survey of the reception history of E.L. Doctorow, the controversial American author.
E.L. Doctorow, now a major member of the American literary establishment, has survived the controversy over his overtly political novels to become recognised as an artist whose place in the American tradition has been earned by his extension of it. This book surveys the reception of his novels, which span the era that saw traditionalist formalist criticism decline in favour of post-structural theories of language and culture. When Welcome to Hard Times (1960) was published, the scant notice it received praised its well-formed structure; by the time of Doctorow's major success, Ragtime (1975), the issues of politics, culture, and history loomed large on the critical landscape, and by the early 1980s, his work was seen overwhelmingly in terms of its postmodern style and scepticism, to such an extent that the theory of criticism drew attention away from his works themselves. Now, with current critical trends moving away from pure theory, his fiction has again become the main focus, with his later work as well as Ragtime receiving attention.


October 1996
198 pages
22.8x15.2 in
Literary Criticism in Perspective
ISBN: 9781571130358
Format: Hardback
Camden House
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"[Williams's] unusual and useful approach. . .reveals how the critics themselves. . .created the combustible mixture of literary, social, and political theories called postmodernism at the very moment they were preparing their commentary on Doctorow for print." CHOICE

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