This book attempts to understand what 'contemporary' has meant, and should mean, for literary studies. The essays in this volume suggest that an attentive reading of recent global literatures challenges the idea that our contemporary moment is best characterized as a timeless, instantaneous 'now'. The contributors to this book argue that global literatures help us to conceive of the contemporary as an always plural, heterogeneous, and contested temporality. Far from suggesting that we replace theories of an omnipresent 'end of history' with a traditional, single, diachronic timeline, this book encourages the development of such a timeline's rigorous inverse: a synchronic, multi-faceted and multi-temporal history of the contemporary in literature, and thus of contemporary global literatures. It opens up the concept of the contemporary for comparative study by unlocking its temporal, logical, political, and ultimately aesthetic and literary complexity.
Sarah Brouillette is Professor of English at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She is the author of Postcolonial Writers in the Global Literary Marketplace (2007) and Literature and the Creative Economy (2014).
Mathias Nilges is Associate Professor of English at St. Francis Xavier University, Canada. He has co-edited the books Literary Materialisms (2013), Marxism and the Critique of Value (2014), and The Contemporaneity of Modernism (2016). He has published on twentieth and twenty-first century American literature, critical theory, and literary history.
Emilio Sauri is Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston, USA. His research focuses on literature and visual art from the United States and Latin America, particularly in relation to the development of the global economy from the end of the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twenty-first.
1. Introduction: "Contemporaneity: On Refusing to Live in the Moment"; Sarah Brouillette, Emilio Sauri, and Mathias Nilges.- 2. "The Landowner's Ghosts: Realism and Financialization in Contemporary Latin American Fiction"; Ericka Beckman.- 3. "'Special Period'-izing Cuba: Limits of the Past Perfect"; Jonathan Dettman.- 4. "Autonomy after Autonomy, or the Novel beyond Nation: Roberto Bolaño's 2666"; Emilio Sauri.- 5. "#YOLO"; Sarah Brouillette.- 6. "Capitalism's Long-Spiral: Periodicity, Temporality, and the Global Contemporary in World-Literature"; Sharae Deckard.- 7. "The Technical Composition of Conceptualism"; Joshua Clover.- 8. "The Multitemporal Contemporary: Colson Whitehead's Presents"; Daniel Grausam.- 9. "Periodizing the Anglophone African Novel: Location(s) in a Transnational Literary Marketplace"; Madhu Krishnan.- 10. "Juggling the Dialectic: The Abyss of Politics in Chris Abani's Fiction"; Mitchum Huehls.- 11. "Contemporaneity and Contradiction: Uneven Temporal Development in Bridgett M. Davis's Into the Go-Slow and Okey Ndibe's Foreign Gods Inc."; Mathias Nilges.- Index.