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Writing Terror: Representations of Terror and Resistance in Twenty-First-Century Anglophone Fiction

Jahamah, Asma (2021) Writing Terror: Representations of Terror and Resistance in Twenty-First-Century Anglophone Fiction. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

The 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US and the “War on Terror” issued in a new era of political violence that has had an enduring influence on power constructions between East and West in the twenty-first century. Writers have reflected on these events and explored the complexities of terrorism, producing literary fiction which not only tackles 9/11 and related events, but which some have also conceived of as a new and emerging genre. Analytical studies of this emerging field of 9/11 fiction often concentrate on US and European literature, while some scholarships aim to expand the field to cover transnational novels as well as broaden the themes, scope and cultural diversity of this field. This thesis looks at novels that have not received much critical attention within the field of 9/11 fiction (with the exception of Updike’s Terrorist). In doing so, it identifies fertile new ground deserving of further enquiry and examination. The aim of this research is to examine various representations of terror and means of resistance. To achieve this end, five novels that portray post-9/11 political violence are examined which are written by authors of various backgrounds: John Updike’s Terrorist, Nadeem Aslam’s The Blind Man’s Garden, Fadia Faqir’s Willow Trees Don't Weep, Chris Cleave’s Incendiary, and Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West. Using postcolonial theory as an analytical lens, the main question of interrogation concerns how these works reproduce, problematise and resist hegemonic representations of terror. The image of terrorists as non-state agents in the works of Updike, Aslam and Faqir remains central to a broader understanding of 9/11 fiction in which terrorism is depicted as an exponent of a violent East. Alternatively, other novelists – Cleave and Hamid – offer a narrative of resistance by reimagining the state as a primary source of terror.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Asma Jahamah
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2021 10:09
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2021 10:09
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30712

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