1. After the Fall

  1. Richard Gray

Published Online: 27 MAY 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444395860.ch1

After the Fall: American Literature Since 9/11

After the Fall: American Literature Since 9/11

How to Cite

Gray, R. (2011) After the Fall, in After the Fall: American Literature Since 9/11, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444395860.ch1

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 MAY 2011
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470657928

Online ISBN: 9781444395860



  • After the Fall, reaction to 9/11 - the rough beast of “a new era”, slouching towards America, and the West;
  • “The thing,” “the event,” “9/11,” “September 11” - vague, a measure of verbal impotence;
  • recurrent tendency in American writing - crisis, a descent from innocence to experience;
  • story or subtext, innocence - forms of experience, dire and disorienting;
  • destruction of the Twin Towers and 2995 lives - pales beside, what has been called “ecoside” says Bui;
  • devastation of natural and human life, in Vietnam - crisis, a matter of perception;
  • destruction of World Trade Center - what Don DeLillo refers as “something empty in the sky”;
  • media event, 9/11 - and killing of President Kennedy - “the political failure of our mourning”;
  • “The return of the repressed,” and Herbert Marcuse saying - “makes up the tabooed and subterranean history of civilisation”;
  • poet Octavio Paz, and post-Romantic literature - vacillation between the magical and revolutionary impulses