Genre Experimentation and World-Construction in Contemporary Anglophone Literature

Despite decades in the naughty corner of literary studies, genre has arguably become an increasingly central category to the production and interpretation of contemporary literature. ‘GenReVisions’ examines the scope of genre usage in Anglophone literature today and its effects on the construction of literary and extra-literary ‘worlds’.

Combining insights from pragmatics, cognitive poetics and constructivist philosophy, the first part of the study promotes a revision of received genre conceptions in favour of a new conceptual metaphor that foregrounds the discursive dimension of generic practices. The second part explores diverse forms of genre experimentation in three recent paradigmatic works: David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’, Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Ground Beneath Her Feet’, and Steven Hall’s ‘The Raw Shark Texts’. These texts all evoke familiar genres to provide different perspectives on or create new visions of reality. Together, they provide a panorama of contemporary genre usage.

Kai Wiegandt in: Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch, 62 (2021), 492-494