Theodore Martin

Image of Theodore Martin.

Theodore Martin

Type
Dissertation Fellow
Department
English
2010 - 2011

Titled "Contemporary Drift: The History of the Present and the Afterlife of Genre," Theodore Martin’s dissertation in English asks what we mean when we talk about “contemporary literature.” For Mr. Martin, the contemporary is a relation rather than a period, a measure of history’s drift rather than a periodizing hedge against it. He argues that we can grasp the paradoxical timelessness of the contemporary by reading it against the historical dynamics of genre: more drag than drift, the accumulative temporality of genre exposes the fragile immediacy of the contemporary. Seeking to reanimate the study of our own literary present, Martin conjures the “afterlives” of genres thought to be effaced or betrayed by postmodernity. Through readings of the realist novel, the historical novel, the detective novel, and the noir film, Contemporary Drift explores what it means—and what it takes—to name the period unfolding under our feet.