By Robert Boyers

Operating intentionally opposed to the grain of assumptions dominant within the modern literary academy, Boyers examines novels by means of Günter Grass, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Milan Kundera and others, arguing that it will be important to talk of personality, ethics, and philosophic function if one is to appreciate those works. A penetrating examine, Atrocity and Amnesia illuminates the various significant fiction of our time and makes a big contribution to modern political concept.

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Their commitment to narrative and to character is part of their concern with a world in which things assume a certain density, in which the presence of certain objects, customs, and memories may be taken for granted. Even those modernist fictions which eschew narrative and aim through other means to build up an autonomous vision of a reality all their own retain some traces of the world outside the author's imagination. But the political novel is always in some unmistakable way an engagement with the common world, and its sense of that world is communicated in the attention it pays to present things.

Writers as different from Bellow as Kundera and Grass subscribe to his view, whether they admit it or not. It is a view of authentic novelistic time as a time present, and of politics as the attempt to engage necessity. Marxist writers speak of "the collective struggle to wrest a realm of Freedom from a realm of Necessity,"4 and though someone like Bellow might argue with them about the meaning of Freedom, he surely knows what is customarily meant by Necessity. But the Marxist theory of Necessity, particularly as evidenced in the works of Louis Althusser and Fredric Jameson, asks us to consider novelistic time in terms that are unfamiliar to most of us.

The beasts will bloody themselves and all around them in the end. Even the pacific Mr.

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