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Fin de millénaire French FictionThe Aesthetics of Crisis$
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Ruth Cruickshank

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199571758

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571758.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Fin de millénaire French Fiction

Ruth Cruickshank (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The book begins by defining the fin de millénaire aesthetics of crisis: the coincidence of the turn of the millennium in France with tangible crises; a convergence of exceptionalist and apocalyptic discourses; and the growth of the mass media and the global market, which generate and manipulate crisis. It foregrounds how the representation, appropriation, and subversion of the trope of the turning point are at once potentially challenging and problematic. This book identifies a culturally and temporally specific fin de millénaire double bind: how the risk of co‐implication of all critical discourses is redoubled by the manipulation of crisis by marketing discourses and media images. The Introduction establishes the book's aim to assess the enduring potential of French literature in the age of late capitalism to intervene in political and ethical questions. Finally, four contrasting major writers of prose fiction are introduced: Christine Angot, Jean Echenoz, Michel Houellebecq, and Marie Redonnet.

Keywords:   exceptionalist, apocalyptic, double bind, aesthetics of crisis, turning point, global market, mass media, co‐implication, late capitalism, French literature

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