Ethics and Nostalgia in the Contemporary Novel
Images of loss and yearning played a crucial role in literary texts written in the later part of the twentieth century. Despite deep cultural differences, novelists from Africa, the Caribbean, Great Britain, and the United States share a sense that the economic, social, and political forces associated with late modernity have evoked widespread nostalgia within the communities in which they write. In this original and wide-ranging study, John J. Su explores the relationship between nostalgia and ethics in novels across the English-speaking world. He challenges the tendency in literary studies to characterise memory as positive and nostalgia as necessarily negative. Instead, this book argues that nostalgic fantasies are crucial to the ethical visions presented by topical novels. From Jean Rhys to Wole Soyinka and from V. S. Naipaul to Toni Morrison, Su identifies nostalgia as a central concern in the twentieth-century novel.