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By Irmtraud Huber (auth.)

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Claviez suggests that a ‘change has occurred within the landscape of American literature – or so it seems. The fabulators of postmodernism are on the demise and about to be displaced by a literary mode and Post-post, Beyond and Back 25 generation that have become known as Neo-Realism and Neo-Realists respectively’ (Claviez 5). The ‘neo’ implies a return to what has been done before and the rejection of postmodernist aesthetics would quite obviously follow from such a new textual politics. Mentioning a similar neo-realist tendency in British fiction and art, Alan Kirby, in fact, points out that the various movements he reviews (Dogme 95, New Puritans, Stuckists, cf.

And indeed, many of the attempts to chart the landscape of literature after postmodernism might seem to imply a kind of regression, a conservatist counter-reaction to postmodernist subversion. David Foster Wallace, both one of the earliest voices prophesying such a literary generation of anti-rebels, and an important literary influence on a whole generation of young writers, is well worth quoting at length here: The next real literary ‘rebels’ in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles.

Do we back ourselves into a corner and insist, as so many of the postmodernists have, on a completely different set of conventions with 26 Literature after Postmodernism their own peculiar limitations? Or do we simply accept the mimetic limitations of realism [ . . ] as obvious and move on from there to build what Tom Wolfe insists will be a bigger, better realism? (Dirty Realists 19; original emphasis) This is a realism of defiance that knows its truth claims to be contestable but nevertheless does not eschew them, fully aware of the conventions that guide them.

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