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Fictional Death and the Modernist Enterprise


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Alan W. Friedman is Thaman Professor of English and Comparative Literature in the Department of English, College of Liberal Arts.
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Death and dying once seemed definitive, public, and appropriate; but the Industrial Revolution, the Great War, and the reenvisioning of reality by scientists and philosophers destabilized cultural norms. In Fictional Death and the Modernist Enterprise Friedman traces the semiotics of death and dying in twentieth-century fiction, history, and culture. He describes how modernist writers either elided rituals of dying, or, rediscovering the body, transformed Victorian "aesthetic death" into modern "dirty death." And he shows how, through postmodern fiction and AIDS narratives, death has once again become cultural currency.



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