Economic Crash impacts literature
‘Crunch Lit’, written by Dr Katy Shaw, Principal Lecturer in Cultural Studies and Humanities at Leeds Beckett, explores the new genre of writing that rose from the financial crisis of 2008.
Populated by a host of unsympathetic characters and centred around banking institutions, these 'recession writings' take the financial crisis as their central narrative concern to produce a new wave of literary and popular writings that satirise the origins and effects of modern life, consumer culture and the credit boom.
Dr Shaw explained: “The financial world has long been a source of fascination for writers, and this intensified in the wake of the credit crunch. In my new book I argue that following the financial crisis, literature was mobilised as an effective means of cultural resistance - a site for the struggle over the legitimacy of reality. New literary representations of the 2007-8 credit crunch remind contemporary audiences that value does not begin, and end, with the economic.”
The book, published by Bloomsbury, examines a range of texts, including Sebastian Faulks's ‘A Week in December’ (2009) and Robert Harris’s ‘The Fear Index’ (2011), key themes of the genre and its precursors in fictional representations of finance. Dr Shaw added: “Using writings not as a form of imaginative escape from the chaotic and confusing reality facing global economic systems, but as an exercise in critical understanding and reframing, authors suggest that contemporary writings can be relevant and revealing in their social and political purpose. In literary examinations of what went wrong, why, and where the finger of blame should be pointed, artists focus on the financial ignorance of the pre-crunch period, the drama of events as credit froze and the benefit of hindsight afforded to cultural interventions created in the post-crunch period.
“Improving financial literacy, enhancing awareness of the internal mechanisms of contemporary finance and critically reviewing the impact of financialisation on 21st-century society, ‘Crunch Lit’ stresses the need to think carefully about contemporary uses of capital, and the possibility of making capital our servant, rather than our master.”
Dr Shaw’s research interests include contemporary literature, especially working class literature, cultural representations of post-industrial regeneration and the languages of comedy. Her books include ‘David Peace: Texts and Contexts’ and ‘Mining the Meaning: Cultural Representations of the 1984-5 UK Miners’ Strike’.
Dr Shaw is involved in two events taking place next month: the first being a one-day conference entitled ‘Post-Capitalism 2015: Rethinking Crisis, Culture, and Politics’ on 6 November and the second, a talk with Dr Andrew Lawson on 11 November for the Leeds Cultural Conversations series. Further details of both events can be found at http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/events/.
Bloomsbury are offering a 20% discount (RRP £17.99) on this title when ordering directly from the publisher. To redeem go to http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/ and quote CRUNCH on checkout. Offer ends 30/11/2015.