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Each generation revises literary history and this is nowhere more evident than in the post-Second World War period. This 2011 Companion offers a comprehensive, authoritative and accessible overview of the diversity of American fiction since the Second World War. Essays by nineteen distinguished scholars provide critical insights into the significant genres, historical contexts, cultural diversity and major authors during a period of enormous American global political and cultural power. This power is overshadowed, nevertheless, by national anxieties growing out of events ranging from the Civil Rights Movement to the rise of feminism; from the Cold War and its fear of Communism and nuclear warfare to the Age of Terror and its different yet related fears of the 'Other'. American fiction since 1945 has faithfully chronicled these anxieties. An essential reference guide, this Companion provides a chronology of the period, as well as guides to further reading.
With the publication of his seminal novel White Noise, Don DeLillo was elevated into the pantheon of great American writers. His novels are admired and studied for their narrative technique, political themes, and their prophetic commentary on the cultural crises affecting contemporary America. In an age dominated by the image, DeLillo's fiction encourages the reader to think historically about such matters as the Cold War, the assassination of President Kennedy, threats to the environment, and terrorism. This Companion charts the shape of DeLillo's career, his relation to twentieth-century aesthetics, and his major themes. It also provides in-depth assessments of his best-known novels, White Noise, Libra, and Underworld, which have become required reading not only for students of American literature, but for all interested in the history and the future of American culture.