• The Cult and the World System: The Topoi of David Mitchell's Global Novels

    Author(s):
    Scott Selisker (see profile)
    Date:
    2014
    Group(s):
    GS Speculative Fiction, LLC 20th- and 21st-Century English and Anglophone, Speculative and Science Fiction, TC Cognitive and Affect Studies, TC Science and Literature
    Subject(s):
    British literature, Sociology of religion, World literature
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6S10M
    Abstract:
    This article describes how the novelist David Mitchell employs the “topos of the cult,” a set of conventions that describe a mental state of unfreedom, in the novels Ghostwritten (1999) and Cloud Atlas (2004). This figuration of an unfree form of society—characterized by a group's specialized language, closed social spaces, and charismatic leadership—has its origins in antitotalitarian political science, fiction, sociology, and psychology. Mitchell and Haruki Murakami (discussed briefly) both question how this Cold War legacy has shaped our understandings of individual agency, and both novelists employ the conventions in characters who understand the world as a simple, single totality. For both writers, the cult serves to draw a contrast with the novels' own self-consciously complex cognitive maps of the contemporary world system.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal Article
    Pub. DOI:
    10.1215/00295132-2789148
    Journal:
    NOVEL A Forum on Fiction
    Volume:
    47
    Start Page:
    443
    End Page:
    459
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 month ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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