The American Pastoral and Its De-Idealization in Two Contemporary American Novels

Philip Roth's 'American Pastoral' and Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'

Nora Kestermann (Autor)

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1. Auflage 2015
Englisch
308 Seiten, Taschenbuch, ca. 148 mm x 210 mm, 405 g


Pro BUSINESS Verlag
ISBN: 978-3-86386-920-5
Artikelnummer: 14500

Kurzbeschreibung

This dissertation discusses the adaptation of pastoral elements taken from ancient pastoral poetry and how these are used to underscore the intrinsic unattainability of the pastoral ideal. Through examination of Philip Roth's novel American Pastoral (1997) and Cormac McCarthy's The Road (2006), this analysis reveals the demystification and critique of America as a pastoral narrative of its own, aligning with closely connected myths and beliefs that remain common and effective in American society. Nora Kestermann outlines the extent to which the two writers unmask the pastoral dream and de-idealize many of its various manifestations in their own unique ways in each novel. While the title of Roth's novel makes an obviously strong reference to the genre of pastoralism and provides a good example of the ability to adapt old pastoral characteristics to today s style of American literature, McCarthy more subtly includes pastoral images and immediately negates them within his novel. Moreover, the analyses of the two novels reveal that both Philip Roth and Cormac McCarthy effectively demystify popular beliefs in certain grand narratives, i.e., the very ideas that have played such a significant role in shaping the national discourse in the U.S. over the last few centuries. The authors expose and reject the pastoral myth and negate several other cultural and political concepts linked with this ideal throughout their works. And yet, this thesis illustrates that, although both writers unmask pastoral values as deceptive and divulge the pastoral story of America as illusory, the two authors emphasize that one cannot escape them.

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