By Sarah Dillon
The result of the 1st overseas convention on David Mitchell's writing, this selection of severe essays, specializes in his first 3 novels - Ghostwritten (1999), number9dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004) - to supply a sustained research of Mitchell's advanced narrative suggestions and the literary, political and cultural implications of his early paintings. The essays conceal issues starting from narrative constitution, style and the Bildungsroman to representations of Japan, postmodernism, the development of identification, utopia, technological know-how fiction and postcolonialism.
1. Introducing David Mitchell’s Universe: A Twenty-First Century residence of Fiction
2. The Novels in 9 Parts
Peter Childs and James Green
3. ‘Or anything like that’: Coming of Age in number9dream
4. Remediations of ‘Japan’ in number9dream
Baryon Tensor Posadas
5. The tales We inform: Discursive id via Narrative shape in Cloud Atlas
6. Cloud Atlas: From Postmodernity to the Posthuman
7. Cloud Atlas and If on a winter’s evening a
traveller: Fragmentation and Integrity within the Postmodern Novel
8. ‘Strange Transactions’: Utopia, Transmigration and Time in Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas
9. Speculative Fiction as Postcolonial: Critique in Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas
10. ‘Moonlight vivid as a flying saucers abduction’: technological know-how Fiction, Present-Future Alienation and Cognitive Mapping
Notes on Contributors
About the Editor
Sarah Dillon is Lecturer in modern Fiction within the college of English on the college of St Andrews. She is writer of The Palimpsest: Literature, feedback, concept (2007) and has released essays on Jacques Derrida, Elizabeth Bowen, H.D., Michel Faber, Maggie Gee and David Mitchell.
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Extra info for David Mitchell: Critical Essays
The world of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is colonized by different levels of imprisonment: Jacob and his fellow men are imprisoned on Dejima, unable to leave unless a ship is departing, forbidden to step on Japanese soil; Orito and the other sisters are imprisoned in Enomoto’s mountain shrine; the Japanese are themselves imprisoned within their Empire, forbidden to visit the outside world. Orito’s imprisonment and the enforced prostitution of the Sisters recalls that of Kozue Yamaya in number9dream whose pimp, like Master Suzaku in The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, personally dispenses drugs to numb the women’s minds and, it might be supposed, suppress any thoughts of rebellion or escape (n9d, 335; TA, 184).
Back] Mitchell explains to Birnbaum (2006) that he indulges himself by ‘trying to sneak into all of my books’ a model for each of them. [back] See, respectively, Peter Childs and James Green’s contribution to this collection, and my essay on Ghostwritten (Dillon, 2010). [back] Henry James describes his idea of the house of fiction in the 1908 preface to the New York Edition of The Portrait of a Lady. [back] Clive makes his reappearance in Mitchell’s excerpt from the new novel, which appeared in the Guardian in August 2010 entitled ‘Muggins Here’.
McMorran observes that while the two texts would seem to offer evidence of the mistrust of grand narratives that Jean-François Lyotard famously identified as part of the postmodern condition, both If on winter’s night a traveller and Cloud Atlas are clearly rooted in a classical aesthetic tradition that continues to prize continuity and formal integrity: Calvino’s fragments are housed in a teleological frame narrative that leads inexorably from first encounter to happy ever after for its two reader-protagonists; and, Cloud Atlas weaves an intertextual web of connecting topoi and characters between its various sections.
David Mitchell: Critical Essays by Sarah Dillon