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The Act of Fiction in an Age of Inflation
"Inflation affects literary occupations and preoccupations quite as much as it does financial scrip." Starting from this premise, Charles Newman ventures forth on an irreverent, wide-ranging discussion of the "Post-Modern" attitude in fiction, culture, and sensibility. Newman questions the "revolutionary" claims of avant-garde novelists and literary theorists, but he is no less critical of the arguments of neoconservatives, neorealists, and advocates of "moral fiction." Newman argues that neither of these groups has confronted the unprecedented break with tradition entailed by an economics and culture of inflation. A combination of cultural critique, literary criticism, economic forecast, and historical jeremiad, The Post-Modern Aura is finally a positive statement, celebrating "The Act of Fiction" and suggesting how the forces which have been devaluing it might be overcome.
"Charles Newman's The Post-Modern Aura is a real eye-opener; the best thing I've read on the state of American culture in a long time, and grounded, moreover, in a tough-minded analysis of the economics of publishing--something unheard of in the annals of literary criticism." --Christopher Lasch, author of The Culture of Narcissism
"Newman's book is a hybrid, a combination of literary criticism, cultural analysis, political polemic, economic forecast, and historical lament. . . . Newman makes us feel that the future of the arts is very much involved in the health of the culture at every level, and he manages this without falling into the reductive equations that describe novels or paintings as reflections of this thing or that." --Robert Boyers, Salmagundi