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The future of disillusionment: Rushdie's Fury and the politics of time
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Humlab.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Commonwealth Literature, ISSN 0021-9894, E-ISSN 1741-6442, Vol. 48, no 2, 237-252 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article reads the sense of futurity pervading Rushdie's Fury, particularly the depiction of a pre-9/11 New York in which the future is said to have already arrived, by placing Rushdie's depiction of globalization at the turn of the century in dialogue with theories of neoliberalism and space-time compression. Both in Fury and in his non-fiction works from this period (collected in Step Across This Line), Rushdie critiques neoliberal globalization as a utopian inflation of human expectations tinged with the foreboding sense of a coming catastrophe. In both Fury and the contemporaneously written New York Times opinion piece Two Crashes, the July 2000 crash of Concorde Flight 4590 illustrates not only the neoliberal drama of expectation and disappointment, but also the acceleration of daily life resulting from instantaneous and ubiquitous global media. Fury's meticulous and frenzied account of pre-9/11 New York may be read as an attempt to develop aesthetic strategies to capture a moment not only of increasing acceleration but also of the premonition of impending catastrophe. However, what distinguishes Fury from the attempt in previous novels such as Midnight's Children to poke holes in the utopian promises of nationalist ideologies is a sense of disillusionment with the aesthetic as an autonomous space from which to unmoor the subject's fixed coordinates in time and space. Instead, Fury is Rushdie's greatest creative risk (as he has described it in interview) precisely because of the sense of extreme close-up wherein the novel attempts to match neoliberalism's politics of time with its own aesthetics of speed, while at the same time losing the distance necessary for aesthetic reflection. From this point of view, the article reads Fury's conclusion as an ambivalent return to the literal and the secular in contrast to the utopian and apocalyptic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2013. Vol. 48, no 2, 237-252 p.
Keyword [en]
Fury, future, globalization, neoliberalism, politics, postcolonial, Salman Rushdie, time, utopia
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-78968DOI: 10.1177/0021989412466402ISI: 000320601800005OAI: diva2:638234
Available from: 2013-07-29 Created: 2013-07-29 Last updated: 2013-07-29Bibliographically approved

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