Identity, Politics and Novel

The Aesthetic Moment

Author(s): Ian Fraser

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism

Series: Political Philosophy Now

  • May 2013 · 240pages · 216x138mm

  • ·Hardback - 9780708326060

About The Book

Fraser’s diverse and wide-ranging book offers an examination of the work of four critically acclaimed novelists, Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Identity), Ian McEwan (Atonement and Saturday), Michel Houellebecq (Atomised and Platform) and J.M. Coetzee (Disgrace and Diary of a Bad Year), to aesthetically explore our understanding of identity. The analysis utilises frameworks from classical and contemporary political, philosophical and social theory to explore the notion of the aesthetic self within these texts. Fraser explores these ideas from within the Marxist aesthetic tradition, using theorists such as Friedrich Nietzsche, G. W. F. Hegel, E.P. Thompson, Julia Kristeva, Henri Lefebvre, Albert Camus, Thomas Aquinas and Theodor Adorno. Fraser therefore offers an innovative and unique approach that breaks new ground by developing a Marxist aesthetic account of identity through the medium of contemporary fiction.


"This is a brave and ambitious book that combines theoretical sophistication with a direct, positive engagement with literature. It offers a critical engagement with outstanding examples of contemporary literature, with a view to identifying how works by Kundera, McEwan, Houellebecq, and Coetzee present aspects of an aesthetic self, engendering epiphanic responses that allow for radical and intense changes in political and philosophical awareness. The readings of the novels are direct, plausible, and informed by considerable philosophical acuity. This is a book that is well worth reading."--Gary Browning, Oxford Brookes University


Introduction Part I: Milan Kundera 1. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Friedrich Nietzsche and Art as Self- Creation 2. Identity: G. W. F. Hegel’s Theory of Recognition Part II: Ian McEwan 3. Atonement: E. P. Thompson and Class Experience 4. Saturday: Julia Kristeva on Abjection Part III: Michel Houellebecq 5. Atomised: Henri Lefebvre and Alienation 6. Platform: Albert Camus and the Absurd Part IV: J.M. Coetzee 7. Disgrace: Thomas Aquinas and the Path to Prudence 8. Diary of a Bad Year: Theodor Adorno on Commitment 9. Conclusion: The Aesthetic Moment

About the Author(s)

Ian Fraser

Ian Fraser is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at Loughborough University.

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