"We Cannot Create": The Limits of History in Joyce Carol Oates's The Accursed

McLennan, Rachael (2020) "We Cannot Create": The Limits of History in Joyce Carol Oates's The Accursed. In: 21st Century Historical Fiction. Palgrave. ISBN 978-3-030-41896-0

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Abstract

In this chapter, McLennan argues that in Joyce Carol Oates’s baffling, enormous novel The Accursed (2013), the undecidability of genre is key to an understanding of the text, which employs, deconstructs, and parodies a number of conventions of historical fiction in its recounting of seemingly supernatural events. Arguing against the few critical positions that exist in relation to this ambitious novel—and generally addressing the lack of critical attention it has received—McLennan contends that Oates’s genre-defying exploration of mysterious happenings in early twentieth-century Princeton, New Jersey, is conducted in order to explore some of her most central concerns—principally the explicit and implicit violence of power as it relates to gender and race in America—as these concerns complicate or compromise the act of telling stories about history. And she shows that through such concerns, the novel can be read as a cautionary message to twenty-first-century America.

Item Type: Book Section
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > American Studies
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 02 May 2019 10:30
Last Modified: 10 May 2022 00:04
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/70788
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-41897-7_6

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