Against the Event: The Everyday and the Evolution of Modernist Narrative investigates how a modernity famed for temporal acceleration - from Benjamin's 'shock' and 'distraction' to the postmodern loss of historical consciousness diagnosed by Jameson - generated fictions defined, strangely enough, not just by the 'new' but just as forcefully by everyday depletions of stasis and repetition, a flood of sameness in modern life. With close attention to the novels of Flaubert, Wells, Conrad, and Joyce, Against the Event relates this aspect of modernity to modernist and proto-modernist problems of narrative form, in particular the banalizing effects of genre, the threatening necessity of closure, and the obsolescence of the coherent narrator. In doing so, Against the Event is also an intervention into one of the pressing philosophical and theoretical issues of our time, that of the nature of the 'event.'
Michael Sayeau is Lecturer of English at University College London.
CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION: IN THE ANTEROOM OF THE EVENT ; CHAPTER II: 'THE FUTURE WAS A DARK CORRIDOR': FLAUBERT'S MADAME BOVARY, THE EVERYDAY, AND STYLE ; CHAPTER III: THE 'ODD CONSEQUENCE' OF PROGRESS: H.G. WELLS'S THE TIME MACHINE AND THE FIN DE SIECLE EVERYDAY ; CHAPTER IV: 'HIS OCCUPATION WOULD BE GONE': UNEMPLOYMENT AND TIME IN CONRAD'S HEART OF DARKNESS ; CHAPTER V: JOYCE'S ANTI-EPIPHANIES: THE ATOMIC FORM OF FICTION ; BIBLIOGRAPHY