Suicide Century: Literature and Suicide from James Joyce to David Foster Wallace

Suicide Century: Literature and Suicide from James Joyce to David Foster Wallace

By: Andrew Bennett (author)Hardback

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Suicide Century investigates suicide as a prominent theme in twentieth-century and contemporary literature. Andrew Bennett argues that with the waning of religious and legal prohibitions on suicide in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the increasing influence of medical and sociological accounts of its causes and significance in the twentieth century, literature responds to the act and idea as an increasingly normalised but incessantly baffling phenomenon. Discussing works by a number of major authors from the long twentieth century, the book explores the way that suicide makes and unmakes subjects, assumes and disrupts meaning, induces and resists empathy, and insists on and makes inconceivable our understanding of ourselves and of others.

About Author

Andrew Bennett is Professor of English at the University of Bristol. He has published four other books: William Wordsworth in Context (editor, Cambridge, 2015), Wordsworth Writing (Cambridge, 2007), Romantic Poets and the Culture of Posterity (Cambridge, 1999), and Keats, Narrative and Audience (Cambridge, 1994). His other single-authored books are Ignorance: Literature and Agnoiology (2009), The Author (2005), and Katherine Mansfield (2004). With Nicholas Royle, he has published two well-known texts books, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory (5th Edition, 2016) and This Thing Called Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing (2015).


1. Literature and suicide; 2. 'The animal that can commit suicide': history, philosophy, literature; 3. A world without meaning: Ford Madox Ford and modernist suicide; 4. 'The love that kills': love, art, and everyday suicide in James Joyce; 5. 'death death death lovely death': Stevie Smith, Sylvia Plath, and the idea of suicide; 6. 'What must it have been like?': suicide and empathy in contemporary fiction; 7. Inside David Foster Wallace's head: attention, loneliness, boredom, and suicide; Epilogue: the contemporary suicide memoir.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781108418041
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 276
  • ID: 9781108418041
  • weight: 540
  • ISBN10: 110841804X

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