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The Cosmopolitan Novel

Berthold Schoene

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While traditionally the novel has been seen as tracking the development of the nation state, Schoene queries if globalisation might currently be prompting the emergence of a new sub-genre of the novel that is adept at imagining global community. The book introduces a new generation of contemporary British writers (Rachel Cusk, Kiran Desai, Hari Kunzru, Jon McGregor and David Mitchell) whose work is read against that of established novelists Arundhati Roy, James Kelman and Ian McEwan. Each chapter explores a different theoretical key concept, including 'glocality', 'glomicity', 'tour du monde', 'connectivity' and 'compearance'.

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I. IMAGINING COSMOPOLITICS: 1. Families against the world: Ian McEwan
2. James Kelman's cosmopolitan jeremiads
II. TOUR DU MONDE: 3. The world begins its turn with you, or how David Mitchell's novels think
III. CREATING THE WORLD: 4. Global noise: Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, Hari Kunzru
5. Suburban worlds: Rachel Cusk and Jon McGregor
Coda: the cosmopolitan imagination

About the Author

Berthold Schoene is Professor of English and Director of the English Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is the editor of The Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Scottish Literature (EUP, 2007) and author of The Cosmopolitan Novel (EUP, 2009) and Writing Men (EUP, 2000).


Berthold Schoene offers us a refreshing look at creative world-making in the contemporary cosmopolitan novel. Schoene's elegant readings - of pre-canonical and better-known writers - establish a cosmopolitan tradition that effectively disaggregates common conceptions of the monolithic "West." The reach of this work is ambitious; yet Schoene carries off an eminently convincing argument, provocative in its incitements for future literary studies of global culture.
- Professor Bishnupriya Ghosh, University of California at Santa Barbara
The Cosmopolitan Novel offers what is - to my mind - the best explanation to date for the continuing success of British fiction. Boldly counterintuitive and always intelligent, this book forces us to consider how contemporary fiction might be refiguring the modern subject for the twenty-first century and whether, in doing so, it also continues the novel's generic mission of "mimicking the world".
- Professor Nancy Armstrong, Duke University