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Louis Greenberg

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Douglas Coupland’s nostalgia

Those who are that way inclined can now read my article, ‘“A Museum of Fifteen Years Ago”: Nostalgia in Three Novels by Douglas Coupland’ in the latest volume of UNISA’s Journal of Literary Studies (29.1, March 2013).

In several of his earlier books, notably Generation X, Douglas Coupland presents his recent past as a lost moral condition and the mid-1970s as the moment of the fall into the confusions of a post-industrial age. His protagonists repeatedly commemorate and mourn the last days of this putative golden age. While it can be argued that there is nothing essentially unique about his X-generation characters’ nostalgia, it is clear that Coupland believes that his characters inhabit a special socio-economic period with unique challenges and losses. Focusing on Generation X (1991), Life After God (1994) and Girlfriend in a Coma (1998), the article examines how Coupland’s characters must negotiate between progressive new forms, expressions, anxieties and styles and an older-fashioned, nostalgic attachment to the past and a search for essential meaning, truth and order. Julia Kristeva’s concept of the chora and certain ideas of Fredric Jameson and Jean Baudrillard are used to counterpoint and illuminate the discussion.

You can access the article here, or feel free to drop me a line and I’ll hook you up.


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