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DepositLiterature Against Criticism: University English and Contemporary Fiction in Conflict

This is a book about the power game currently being played out between two symbiotic cultural institutions: the university and the novel. As the number of hyper-knowledgeable literary fans grows, students and researchers in English departments waver between dismissing and harnessing voices outside the academy. Meanwhile, the role that the university plays in contemporary literary fiction is becoming increasingly complex and metafictional, moving far beyond the ‘campus novel’ of the mid-twentieth century. Martin Paul Eve’s engaging and far-reaching study explores the novel’s contribution to the ongoing displacement of cultural authority away from university English. Spanning the works of Jennifer Egan, Ishmael Reed, Tom McCarthy, Sarah Waters, Percival Everett, Roberto Bolaño and many others, Literature Against Criticism forces us to re-think our previous notions about the relationship between those who write literary fiction and those who critique it.

Deposit“You have to keep track of your changes”: The Version Variants and Publishing History of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas

In 2003, David Mitchell’s editorial contact at the US branch of Random House moved from the publisher, leaving the American edition of Cloud Atlas (2004) without an editor for approximately three months. Meanwhile, the UK edition of the manuscript was undergoing a series of editorial changes and rewrites that were never synchronised back into the US edition of the text. When the process was resumed at Random House under the editorial guidance of David Ebershoff, changes from New York were likewise not imported back into the UK edition. In the section entitled ‘An Orison of Sonmi ~451’ these desynchronised rewritings are nearly total at the level of linguistic expression between UK and US paperbacks/electronic editions and there are a range of sub-episodes that only feature in one or other of the published editions. Within the constraints of copyright on contemporary fiction, this article sets out this textual variance and visually plots the re-ordering and re-writing of the Sonmi section of the novel across versions. Further to this, I also signal here a number of reasons why critics might need to consider the production processes of contemporary fiction in order to deal with the multiple and different editions of this text and other contemporary novels.