Counterfeit culture : truth and authenticity in the American prose epic since 1960 / Rob Turner.

Turner, Rob, 1985- [Browse]
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2019.
1 online resource (ix, 221 pages)


Cambridge studies in American literature and culture ; 182. [More in this series]
Summary note
Counterfeit Culture explores the possibility of writing epic in an age of alternative facts. Examining six attempts to forge an American prose epic since 1960, this study goes on to trace a national tradition of inauthenticity, stretching back across four centuries. In works by authors such as Pynchon, Gaddis and Burroughs, the contemporary turn away from truth and authenticity can be seen as a return to an established line of literary tricksters and confidence men, with tropes of fraud and artifice running deep in the American grain. Combining archival work with historically-inflected analysis of literary narrative, this book ranges through questions of identity, technology, history, and music in its engagement. From Marguerite Young's inquiry into psychological disintegration to William T. Vollmann's ongoing cycle of false histories, the study introduces a new reading of the American epic.
Title from publisher's bibliographic system (viewed on 28 Jun 2019).
  • Introduction: America and the "Way to the devil"
  • Marguerite Young's flood of consciousness
  • William Gaddis and the "novel-writing-machine" of Andy Warhol
  • "Paper reality": William S. Burroughs and the cut-up method
  • "Bad history": Thomas Pynchon and the apocryphal epic
  • "History shambles on": William T. Vollmann and the Seven dreams cycle
  • Conclusion: "Every story has two tails".
9781108625418 (ebook)
Statement on language in description
Princeton University Library aims to describe library materials in a manner that is respectful to the individuals and communities who create, use, and are represented in the collections we manage. Read more...
Other views
Staff view