Current Research

I am currently working on my dissertation, tentatively titled “The Post-Noir Novel: Pulp Genre, Alienation, and the Turn from Postmodernism in Contemporary American Fiction.” This dissertation examines the adoption and reinvention of the style, tropes, and themes of early-to-mid-20th-century hard-boiled crime fiction and film noir in a group of contemporary novels published between 1999 and 2013. The crux of my argument is that contemporary writers working in the wake of postmodernism turn to the noir tradition because it reflects a widespread sense of social alienation – of the estrangement of the individual from other people, from society as a whole, and even from oneself. In their reworkings of the genre, however, these contemporary authors seek ways of escaping that alienation and producing narratives of re-integration. The texts I examine in this study include Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn, Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist, Mat Johnson’s Incognegro, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge, among others.