• Neoliberalism and it Impact on Post-9/11 American Poetry

    Joydeep Chakraborty (see profile)
    American Literature, LLC 20th- and 21st-Century American, TM Literary and Cultural Theory, TM Literary Criticism, TM The Teaching of Literature
    Neoliberalism, 21st-century American literature, Imperialism
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    Keywords: Capitalism, post-9/11 literature
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    My article examines two post-9/11 American poems – “Towers Down" by Clive Matson and “When the World As We Knew It Ended” by Joy Harjo – against the background of neoliberalism in American society and the neoliberal global order. Neoliberalism both as a concept -- which basically denotes open markets, free trade and minimal government interference into the economy and the society of a nation – and as a social actualization emerged in 1980s and lasted up to the 1990s, but was increasingly threatened by a succession of socio-political and economic forces like the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Arab Spring, Occupy movements and its European counterparts. Placing the two poems within this socio-political and economic context this article conducts a nuanced analysis of those two poems, making the point that while the first poem considers neoliberalism as a tool of economic exploitation mired in imperialism, the second one views neoliberalism and its physical manifestation, the Twin Towers, as a naive prelapsarian dream which is shattered by post-9/11 disillusionment. Moreover, while the first poem regards the destruction of the Twin Towers as the symbolic demise of neoliberalism, the second one proposes a creative transmutation of the pain of disillusionment. My article aims to demonstrate the point that each of the foregoing poems could be read both as an aesthetic object and as a critical insight into the practical reality of both the neoliberal American society and the neoliberal global order, an insight compatible with the contemporary scholarly discourses on the same reality.
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    4 years ago
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