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United States of Banana (2011), Elizabeth Costello (2003) and Fury (2001): Portrait of the Writer as the ‘Bad Subject’ of Globalisation

United States of Banana (2011), Elizabeth Costello (2003) et Fury (2001) : portrait de l’écrivain en « mauvais sujet » de la mondialisation
Madelena Gonzalez


Dans un monde globalisé dont l’expansion est facilitée par les systèmes d’information modernes et la commodité des voyages, une grille de lecture postcoloniale appliquée à la littérature issue des pays anciennement colonisés ou écrite par des peuples autrefois assujettis ne semble pas prendre suffisamment en compte la reconfiguration géopolitique qu’implique le processus historique de la mondialisation. Quelques romans récents, écrits par des auteurs souvent étiquetés comme postcoloniaux, se confrontent à ce nouvel ordre mondial et le défient de manière originale par le biais de leur art. Ils prennent pour sujet l’écrivain, qu’il soit narrateur ou protagoniste ou les deux en même temps, et en font un symbole de résistance au statu quo de la mondialisation dont l’essor semble étroitement lié au capitalisme tardif. Leurs romans explorent de l’intérieur les ramifications de ce nouvel impérialisme à New York ou sur les marges, en Afrique, à Porto Rico ou encore dans les îles de l’Océanie. La grande complexité formelle de ces œuvres, leurs stratégies littéraires sophistiquées et une forte autoréflexivité freinent leur récupération par le paradigme postcolonial et révèlent une obsession de l’esthétique qui semble les rapprocher du postmodernisme. En même temps ils témoignent d’une nostalgie de l’imagination romantique qui permet aux figures de l’écrivain qu’ils mettent en scène de résister ouvertement à l’interpellation de l’idéologie dominante et d’inventer une réalité alternative. Ils refusent d’occuper une position d’assujettissement par rapport à une norme idéologique et ancrent leurs récits dans une originalité formelle et stylistique. Ce choix engendre des Künstlerromans tourmentés dans lesquels la défamiliarisation et la déconstruction de l’identité entravent le développement et la reconnaissance de l’artiste.

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1With the rise of globalisation studies in academia, notably in the social sciences and economics, Postcolonialism and its reliance on alterity and hybridity is starting to seem out of synch with the generalised cultural homogenisation that results from the global expansion of capital. For some, the current state of affairs is merely a continuation of colonialism by other means, thus allowing for the continuation of the postcolonial paradigm, while for others, the necessity for a ‘new cartography’ is palpable and urgent (Hardt and Negri 92). Postcolonialism, as its name suggests, constructed itself in relation to colonisation and on the back of the disillusionment with the failure of nationalism, hence its fear of essentialism and the Enlightenment project, but the globalised era has ushered in new, more insidious and ambivalent forms of economic imperialism as well as a new epoch of post-nationalism, which may be couched in the form of the reinvigorated internationalism of a traditional Marxist cast or be closer to Hardt and Negri’s utopian vision of ‘global citizenship’ (92). Even if both phenomena are situated historically, neither can be glibly assimilated to the postcolonial as we know it to date.

2In the field of literary criticism and the study of fiction, there is a time lag in relation to this new state of affairs. The postcolonial label is still persistently and systematically applied to certain writers seen as representative of its main tropes, for both ethnic and aesthetic reasons, although a clear definition of the postcolonial aesthetic has yet to arise. Rushdie’s work is celebrated, above all, for its hybridity and migrant sensibility, thanks to Homi Bhabha’s now canonical essay, The Location of Culture (1994). As for Coetzee, he is grouped with writers such as Margaret Atwood and Peter Carey, who are members of white settler communities within colonised countries and thus apparently constituted by the conflicting relations between coloniser and colonised that obtain within those colonies. The work of Braschi, a Porto-Rican living in New York, would seem to fulfil the necessary criteria of biculturalism, bilingualism, migrancy, hybridity, required for gaining entry into the postcolonial canon. Indeed the recent panel session dedicated to her latest novel at the MLA in January 2013 had recourse to this familiar paradigm.

3It is only a short step from appellation to interpellation and Braschi, Coetzee and Rushdie appear to inhabit a space hotly contested by both high Postcolonial Studies and the world book industry which exists within the new paradigm of global culture or what Wallerstein and other analysts have classed as the world capitalist system. This double interpellation affects their performance as writers but also that of readers of their work. These three novels are seemingly ideally poised for analysis within existing critical parameters, but obstinately refuse to conform to the protocols laid out for them.

4I will focus briefly on three different aspects of the novels, which seem particularly relevant to my hypothesis of a poetics of resistance and refusal: first the return to form and style as a way of reasserting control over the novel as artefact, secondly the artist figure as ‘bad subject’ declining to occupy the role assigned to him within globalisation and, finally, the emphasis on the creative imagination, as a source of agency and transformative power, locked in battle with the hyperreal simulacrum of the technoverse and obliged to seek out a compromise with mimesis and rationality in order to reaffirm real emotion via the expression of an ethical universal.

The Return to Form and the Potency of Style

5One of the ways out of a circular hermeneutics which tends to collapse everything into culture is to focus clearly on the aesthetic. For these novelists, concentrating on the centrality of the artist as a vehicle for the imagination and on the question of artistic originality and literary craftsmanship may be useful strategies with which to challenge homogenisation. In all three texts literariness is excessively foregrounded, thanks in large measure, to a multitude of postmodern tropes such as auto-reflexivity, metatextuality, parody, intertextuality, the problematization of realist representation and, in the case of Elizabeth Costello, and United States of Banana, the refusal to tell a story, unless, of course, it be the story of metafiction itself; the first chapter of Elizabeth Costello is entitled, significantly, ‘Realism’. This works against the temptation to which Postcolonial Studies is subject, that of: ‘making literary texts into allegories for non-literary processes (imperialism, nation-building, and so on)’ (O’Connor 298) and in favour of the opposition to either/or labelling or thinking, characteristic of the postmodern (see Torres-Padilla 300). However, I am not suggesting necessarily that they use Postmodernism as an antidote or mode of resistance to their possible postcolonial and/or global condition. Furthermore, if possible, I should like to bypass the familiar binary of Postmodernism as an aestheticizing of the political and Postcolonialism as a politicising of the aesthetic. These texts certainly encourage and resist a certain type of referential illusionist reading in familiar postmodern fashion and deal in some measure with postcolonial themes such as migration and identity, but seek to situate themselves above and beyond such totalities in an unidentifiable elsewhere which makes it difficult to pin them down to any one location on the literary-critical map.

6It will be remembered that Fury, to the disappointment of many critics, discards the familiar magic realist mode, considered up until then to be the default genre for the celebrated writer of postcolonial fiction and replaces it with a narrative voice that is closer to that of the Balzacian secretary of society, while at the same time employing formal conceits reminiscent of the montage used by Dos Passos in the ‘Newsreel’ and ‘Camera Eye’ sections of his USA Trilogy. Elizabeth Costello and United States of Banana both refuse conventional storytelling modes and propose philosophical disquisitions on our contemporary globalised condition that interpellate or critically address the phenomenon as much as they are interpellated or critically addressed by it, an impulse that is latent in Fury’s detailed description of contemporary New York, the very epicentre of globalisation, where Braschi also chooses to set most of her novel. Like Rushdie, she ‘outsources’ the second part to a recognizably postcolonial location, Porto Rico. However the theme addressed is not so much the oppressive legacy of colonialism, as the challenge to independence and self-determination constituted by the hegemony of world capitalism on which the narrator, a writer/poet/artist tries to persuade her fellow travellers to declare war.

7I will give a few specific examples of how the return to formalist concerns and the potency of style can be used as a tool to question accepted values and interpretative strategies, as encapsulated in the shocking reaction of Braschi’s eponymous writer figure, Giannina, one of the multiple narrators of the novel, to the events of 9/11. The startling pronouncement, ‘Inspiration made an installation that day’ (86), occurs in part two of the novel, itself entitled, ‘United States of Banana’. It comes near the beginning of a chapter named, ‘Burial of the Sardine’, which charts the progress of Giannina, a sort of duenna, and her unlikely companions, Hamlet and Zarathustra, through a surreal post-9/11 New York on their way to bury the aforementioned ‘rigorous but retarded sardine’ (72) at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. It is part of a seemingly absurdist philosophical dialogue she holds with her comrades and the recently deceased ‘salaried sardine’, which mocks the enslavement of contemporary Americans to capitalism: ‘Every two weeks—it brought me a salary—the stinky sardine—and I brought home all I could with that salary—confinement, imprisonment. Depending on a salary made me salivate’ (72). Braschi’s word play, linguistic patterning and literalisation of metaphor give her poetic licence for her critical intent and are reminiscent of the satirical incipit of Fury which intones with dead-pan irony the litany of empty materialism at the heart of the new empire.

8Rushdie’s exaggerated Roman conceit, which acts as an extended metaphor throughout his novel, is particularly prescient in the face of recent analyses of globalisation as something more than simply the continuation of Western imperialism by other means: ‘the United States is closer to ancient Rome—with its expansionist republicanism, networked power, and syncretic, englobing culture—than to the territorial sovereignty, linear ambitions, and differentialist logic of the modern imperial European nation-state’ (Coopan 83). As in United States of Banana, the triumph of commodification is portrayed as total and the difficulty consists in finding a position outside the market from which to combat its mechanisms; both novels lament the fact that art has long ago lost its aura to a logic of mechanical and now virtual, reproduction. If, as Deleuze avers, ‘Le marketing est maintenant l’instrument du contrôle social’ (Deleuze 1990), Rushdie’s cinematographic close-up of the intimate workings of the system at its focal point, makes visible this unpleasant reality. For all his Indianness, Solanka’s alienation is not a result of his race, and, like Giannina, his exile is self-enforced and eminently desired. His anxiety concerns instead his status as individual and artist within the accelerated flows of an information society, drained of real human emotion, in short, the loss of individuality attendant on the fragmentation of the human as modernisation extends into globalisation via information highways and the omnipresent digiverse, described by Deleuze in ‘Post-scriptum sur les sociétés de contrôle’ (1990).

9Like Rushdie’s protagonist, born in Bombay, the Porto Rican Giannina could be construed ethnically as postcolonial outsider, but her interest is in dismantling the global empire from within by making its workings visible to the naked eye or baring the device, thanks to a self-conscious and defamiliarising poetics. Rather than assume the mantle of the exoticised postcolonial Other, she, like the narrator of Fury and, indeed, Elizabeth Costello, affirms the superiority of the elite cosmopolitan radical, exploring the new empire from a position of intellectual and economic privilege which allows her the luxury of informed dissent. It is from this vantage point that she proceeds to demolish the American dream and its myths with the undiplomatic immunity of her poetry:

I used to hear the voices of the people in taxi drivers—but now their voices are hooked up to cell phones, iPods, or Blackberries. If you talk to them—they disconnect only for a second—and return to their gadgets. Human beings can’t bear very much reality … And now they use electronics to formalize the fact that they’re busy with the dread of daily living that produces nothing creative but the monotony that they call pragmatism … they’re fire-breathing dragons at the office of their mouths. What would happen if we snipped the wires of their busyness. Progress would happen—as it did to us on September 11. Inspiration made an installation that day. (86)

10The stylistic flourishes, syllepsis, alliteration, the internal rhyme of the last sentence, the reference to literary Modernism via the application to our contemporary networked existence of a line from part one of Eliot’s ‘Burnt Norton’, ‘human kind/Cannot bear very much reality’, are the marks of a sophisticated and elitist aesthetics which challenge the banality of contemporary cultural clichés and allow her to rewrite radical politics as high art. Poetic mastery creates a defamiliarised alternative to what Solanka terms ‘the death of the heart’ (202), that is to say, the symbolic poverty of consumer society. Artistic inspiration is reinstated as resistance to the oppression of the North American business model and enables the writer, empowered by her craft, to create an oppositional model of poetic progress, condensed in the epiphany of 9/11, seen as a work of art.

11Such manifestations of stylistic potency underline the importance of art as ideological intervention, thanks to the artist-figure’s special status as antagonist as well as protagonist. According to Deleuze, the pervasive structures of our current ‘societies of control’ are more dangerous than those of more traditional models because less immediately visible, an analysis which is reminiscent of Baudrillard’s theory of the viral stage of capitalism, instituting a fourth order of simulacra (13–18). However, unlike Baudrillard, and like Deleuze who encourages us to look for new forms of resistance, the writers under study here suggest that art may be used as a weapon of delegitimation of these ubiquitous structures of control and their universalising tendencies. They move beyond the postmodern and the postcolonial to envisage the reinstatement of a different (ethical?) type of universal, based on love, feeling, the human heart that can only be mediated through the romantic imagination of the artist, thus reasserting his uniqueness and importance as exceptional individual.

The Artist as ‘Bad Subject’

12Within the sticky web of the contemporary mediaverse the author is in danger of losing control of his creation, as is the case for Solanka and his Little Brain doll. He too may become a product, celebrity or icon, in short be subjected to the process of reification in the same way that his art is doomed to become a consumer object. The obsessive centrality of the artist figure in these novels is thus a symptom of a malaise which extends from the personal to the political, as Sarah Brouillette cogently explains in her analysis of Fury: ‘the novel’s significant solipsism is its paranoia about the way mass media make cultural products available for highly politicized forms of appropriation or interpretation that betray the controlling intentions of the author’ (140). Each of these texts is engaged in the refiguring of an ideal artist. In order to reaffirm artistic agency, they propose imagination and inspiration as an antidote to the bromide of contemporary pop culture, and construct counter narratives that gesture towards an elsewhere outside the immanence of the information order. The American dream, actually being experienced by Fury’s protagonist in his incarnation as complicit multi-millionaire web artist, is thus recast in the form of an Internet saga where the myth of success is metamorphosed into a tragic dystopia. In this imaginary space, revolt becomes a reality. The destruction of an oppressive empire in the twilight of its hegemony is staged via the interpolation of an excerpt from the saga which constitutes chapter 12 in its entirety and prefigures the ‘intervention of the living dolls from the imaginary planet Galileo-1 in the public affairs of the actually existing Earth’ (226) when the web saga becomes the inspiration behind the revolution on the South Sea island of Lilliput Blefuscu and metaphor is literalised into radical political change.

13In the same way that Fury disrupts its generic coherence with the intrusion of a rogue element that challenges the status quo, Elizabeth Costello runs strikingly counter to common expectations of the novel conceived of in its current incarnation as market-oriented, mass-produced consumer object. Neither does the South African author’s discursive set of eight ‘lessons’, mostly reworked from earlier essays and followed by a perplexing postscript, conform to the received wisdom of Coetzeean poetics as postmodern allegory about South African postcolonial reality. Like his protagonist, Elizabeth, an Australian who travels the world as celebrity author giving prize-acceptance speeches, only very tenuously related to the work for which she is being honoured, Coetzee, the Nobel laureate, seems to have turned a deaf ear to the possible demands of the very public who deemed him worthy of recognition.

14Within the new totality of globalisation, one possible role available to the artist is that of the ‘idiot savant’ who, as Giannina puts it, ‘is taught but doesn’t learn’ (USB 173), the ‘bad subject’ in the Althusserian sense who refuses to submit to the dictates of authority and uses poetic licence to reinvent the world. The incipit of Braschi’s novel, for example, sees the poet-narrator creatively stimulated by the tragedy of 9/11: ‘It’s the end of the world. I was excited by the whole situation. Well, if everybody is going to die, die hard’ (3) which is presented as a solution to her fellows’ subjugation to the capitalist model. Not only does 9/11 become the vehicle for a bizarre romantic transcendence but it is also rewritten as a shockingly un-politically correct corrective to the prevailing narrative of sentimentality about the disaster. Instead of the recognition of the immensity of the event as unprecedented personal and collective tragedy which has appeared unfailingly in the majority of post 9/11 novels, Braschi’s narrator restages the catastrophe around a single grotesque synedochic snapshot: ‘The Death of a Businessman’ where the exploded body parts of the victim signify the ultimate comic reification of humanity consonant with the logic of materialism.

15The ‘Mickey-Mouse postcolonial writer’ (EC 9) is openly mocked by Coetzee’s heroine as one of the many personas on offer to the writer within the culture industry and, like both Solanka and Giannina, Elizabeth is a quixotic aesthete, an unattractive, but inspired anti-heroine, who rewrites society’s expectations of the artist in bizarrely challenging, if not to say shocking ways. The formal challenge of the novel that refuses the consensual narrative options on offer is replicated in its content: is it an ironic allegory of Coetzee’s own success, of the fate of the postcolonial writer as celebrity, a series of object lessons in how to read or not to read a novel? Its resistance to assimilation into available paradigms complicates its status within the literary marketplace and suggests resistance to the pervasive mechanics of commodity production in a world order where labelling and brand status are of paramount importance. Coetzee’s perverse refusal to heed the sirens of global literary celebrity is equal to Elizabeth’s perverse refusal to talk coherently about her work in public and her unfashionable obsession with ethics as a form of aesthetics.

16However, it is the final lesson, ‘At the Gate’, where Elizabeth is seen waiting in an unspecified location to enter paradise, which best sums up the novel’s resistance to interpellation. This transparently comic false ending, a parodical rewriting of Kafka’s short story ‘Before the Law’, illustrates Elizabeth’s unwillingness to subject herself to the dictates of the imaginary court which will vouchsafe her passage over to the other side and to salvation. As an artist, she sees herself as ‘a secretary of the invisible’ (199), with a higher vocation, that of the transcendent, and the ‘summons’ for which she is waiting, comes to her from the mysterious powers beyond. Her obstinate and peremptory assertion of artistic freedom in the face of the demonstrably ubiquitous power of the court borders on insanity or, at least, contumacious recklessness.

17As unable as she is unwilling to learn her lesson, she condemns herself to the limbo of the permanent threshold, rather than be safe in the certainty of the absolutes guaranteed by the law which insists on the unconditional belief necessary for its continued existence: ‘When I claim to be a secretary clean of belief I refer to my ideal self, a self capable of holding opinions and prejudices at bay while the word which it is her function to conduct passes through her’ (200). As one of Elizabeth’s judges points out, this resembles a form of negative capability, the familiar refuge of the Romantic poet who can dwell in ‘uncertainties, mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason’ (Keats 92). Like both Giannina and Solanka, she pits imaginative self-creation against social construction with the self, perceived as ‘pure transformative energy . . . simultaneously terrifying and wonderful’ (F 178). If, as Emerson stated, ‘The true romance, which the world exists to realize, will be the transformation of genius into practical power’ (Emerson 142), how can this be realised in a world where art is subsumed into global popular culture and what Elizabeth calls ‘the irrepressible human spirit’ (207) is enslaved to commodity production? Just as Solanka is trapped within the theatre of masks on the island, she remains prisoner in a ‘purgatory of clichés’ (206), the literary theme park which reflects the death of artistic creativity within the culture of globalisation where transcendence is collapsed into an inescapable immanent totality. Can the mystical Romantic intuition of the artist redeem and renew the affectless real and provide the consolation of authentic experience within a spiritually empty cosmos?

Disconsolate Utopias and Rational Delirium

18These embattled Künstlerromans offer us portraits of the artist in a permanent state of disquietude, the ‘furia’, described in Rushdie’s novel as the natural condition of the inspired creator, striving to reconnect with real emotion, to reinstate the language of the heart through recourse to the myth of the Romantic imagination, negative capability and the creative energy or special madness of poetry. Thanks to what she terms her ‘Hierarchy of Inspiration’, ‘the demon, the duende, the angel and the muses’ (63), Braschi’s narrator affirms the unique status of the artist whose function is to reconnect with truth and authenticity through the aesthetic: ‘But the nature of the poet is to see through the mud. To throw dirt in people’s faces without distinguishing a king from a beggar . . . All of them should feel the mud—and smell it—and find a sapphire in a pig’s shit’ (64). The potent poetic image of Eliot’s ‘garlic and sapphires in the mud’, is plucked from part two of ‘Burnt Norton’ and rewritten with a certain alliterative crudity to emphasise the artist’s special role as seer and visionary whose poetry can be the source of a powerful transformation that turns the base into the beautiful, in short, the alchemical art which Solanka so frequently evokes. The term ‘duende’ signifies both master and demon in Spanish, the primitive power, fire, soul, which Costello strains to communicate to her judges and audience and which Lady Chandos expresses in the epistolary epilogue of Coetzee’s novel as the rapture and rhapsody of romantic love.

19This imaginary letter, addressed to the renowned scientist, Lord Bacon, suggests a disturbing coda to the romantic myth, as expressed in the quote reproduced from Hofmannstahl’s original fictional letter from Lord Chandos to Bacon, and placed immediately before Lady Chandos’s missive (see EC 226). The spirituality of the ideal self, accomplished through revelation, is subject to a double dissolution, firstly in the abyssal sublime of Lady Chandos’s creative madness, Solanka’s fury and Giannina’s frenzy and, secondly, in the alienating aphasia of the global totality which has no use for the artist within its economy of representation. The passion of the ‘extreme soul’ (EC 228) is untenable within the new order of dehumanisation and standardisation. The Romantic posture demands the sublime despite the writer’s difficulty in communicating it, and humanity’s inability to comprehend it, the realisation of an impossible ideal which cannot be easily expressed in words, as Lady Chandos laments. In order to be attained, the ineffable must be harnessed to representation, the ideal must be made material. This is the challenge faced by these artists if they wish to clear a significant space for the truth of an ethical universal to combat the ersatz of globalisation.

20If, as Lady Chandos avers, ‘We are not made for revelation’ (229; italics in the original), the writer must reinvent a form of creative mimesis that will make this ethical universal a tangible reality, he must rediscover the link between art and life, between the poet and the multitude, find a compromise between his aspiration to the sublime and the constraints of representation, in short reinstate authentic experience within the simulated or coded structures which have superseded direct experience. Giannina offers her audience a rogue aesthetic that reconnects them to the real and contests the dominant ideology enshrined in the state, thanks to a ‘Declaration of Independence’, the title of chapter four of the second part of the novel. Linking the material and the transcendent, thanks to the aesthetic, enables the poet to make room for an alternative ideology. Thus, the first part of the book, entitled, ‘Ground Zero’ with its images of apocalypse and destruction, prepares the terrain for the reversal of the balance of power that occurs in the second and that is reflected in the name of the novel itself. By ascribing the status of banana republic to the United States and redefining its former satellites as the new seat of power, an enlightened universalism, what the narrator terms, ‘a United Nations—without nations’ (118), can come to the fore.

21Giannina’s rational delirium suggests a possible mode of existence for the artist within globalisation that rests on the paradoxical coupling of the Romantic sublime with Enlightenment rationality. In the final chapter of the novel, which takes the form of a Socratic dialogue between the narrator and an immigrant taxi-driver in Central Park, philosophical reasoning interweaves with a Molly Bloomish rhapsody on artistic intuition and love. Lady Chandos’s impassioned appeal to the humanistic materialism of Bacon at the end of Coetzee’s novel can also be read in this light. Solanka, too, weds rationality to romanticism in his rewriting of the Keatsian credo of ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’ as the ‘Galileo moment’ (249). All three suggest the utopian potential of the aesthetic as an ethical alternative to the dominant ideology.

22Although, rational delirium may confer on the artist the superior energy of rebellion, it also withholds the promise of ultimate recognition and artistic fulfilment. In his study of ‘The Politics of Postcolonial Modernism’, Neil Lazarus proposes the term ‘disconsolation’ (431) to describe a certain type of literature in which he includes the work of Coetzee, but which could also apply to the other novels in our corpus: ‘writing which . . . says “no”; refuses integration, resolution, consolation, comfort; protests and criticizes’ (431). Elizabeth Costello’s posture of doubt in the final lesson of Coetzee’s novel places her outside the remit of the law, but consigns her to a disconsolate utopia which she shares with Giannina, the poet trying to rhyme her way into the Republic, and Solanka cavorting on a bouncy castle on Hampstead Heath in the final pages of Fury. Perpetual rebellion condemns the artist to perpetual adolescence. Instead of attaining the maturity which is the habitual trajectory of the Künstlerroman whose protagonist is poised to fulfil his artistic destiny, Solanka, Elizabeth and Giannina do not seem equipped, like Stephen Dedalus ‘to forge in the smithy of their souls the uncreated conscience of their race’, but reduced to the kynic clowning of naughty gifted children. Their petulant postures may be no match for the cynical mechanisms of global capitalism, but do at least enable them as artists to thumb their noses at the unacknowledged ideological universalism of official culture and its intangible strategies of control, as Solanka’s farcical restaging of Gatsby’s American dream in the final lines of the novel may suggest.

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Torres-Padilla, José L., ‘When Hybridity Doesn’t Resist: Giannina Braschi’s Yo-Yo Boing’, Complicating Constructions: Race, Ethnicity, and Hybridity in American Texts, ed. David S. Goldstein, Seattle: U of Washington P, 2007, 290–307.

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Madelena Gonzalez, « United States of Banana (2011), Elizabeth Costello (2003) and Fury (2001): Portrait of the Writer as the ‘Bad Subject’ of Globalisation »Études britanniques contemporaines [En ligne], 46 | 2014, mis en ligne le 01 juin 2014, consulté le 21 février 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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Madelena Gonzalez

Madelena Gonzalez is Professor of Anglophone Literature at the University of Avignon. Her recent publications include Generic Instability and Identity in the Contemporary Novel (2010), Authenticity and Legitimacy in Minority Theatre: Constructing Identity (2010) and Minority Theatre on the Global Stage: Challenging Paradigms from the Margins (2012). She has published widely on contemporary literature and culture and is currently in charge of the Avignon-based, interdisciplinary research team, ‘Cultural Identity, Texts, and Theatricality’ (ICTT, ÉA 4277).

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