Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

School of English Research Seminar

Sarah McCreedy (UCC), Ruthless Mediocrity: Naturalistic False Consciousness in Contemporary American Post- Apocalyptic Fiction

In twenty-first-century (‘new’) naturalism, the deterministic worldview of more traditional naturalistic texts has been supplanted by a more nuanced conception of free will. The new naturalism imagines a world where free will exists but in the context of excruciatingly limited choices; choices, indeed, that may not even qualify as choices at all. The existence of free will only creates the illusion of freedom, creating what I term ‘Naturalistic False Consciousness’. Naturalistic false consciousness marks the appearance of false consciousness in works of literary naturalism, and, crucially, is particularly concerned with the false notion of choice or free will. This paper examines this concept in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) and Colson Whitehead’s Zone One (2012). I explore how these depictions of limited decision-making offer a direct response to the neoliberal project. Sarah McCreedy is second-year PhD student in the School of English at University College Cork. She completed her BA and MA degrees at Queen’s University Belfast. Her thesis explores the resurgence of American literary naturalism in 21st century American fiction, and she is supervised by Dr Alan Gibbs.

Category: Public Lectures and Seminars: Arts Celtic Studies and Social Sciences
Date:
Time: 3-4 pm
Location: O'Rahilly Building 2.12
Target Audience: All welcome
Admission Price: € Free
Contact: Clíona Ó Gallchoir
021 4903288
http://https://www.ucc.ie/en/english/research/schoolofenglishresearchseminar/

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