By Sarah Dillon
The result of the 1st overseas convention on David Mitchell's writing, this number of serious essays, makes a speciality of his first 3 novels - Ghostwritten (1999), number9dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004) - to supply a sustained research of Mitchell's advanced narrative thoughts and the literary, political and cultural implications of his early paintings. The essays hide subject matters 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 identification 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 alien ship 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 institution of English on the college of St Andrews. She is writer of The Palimpsest: Literature, feedback, conception (2007) and has released essays on Jacques Derrida, Elizabeth Bowen, H.D., Michel Faber, Maggie Gee and David Mitchell.
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Additional info for David Mitchell: Critical Essays
Kellogg did indeed ask Mitchell in a subsequent interview if he attended the conference. Mitchell responded: I did. It sounds self-aggrandizing, but I just wanted to relish the weirdness of it. I was invited, and it seemed gracious to accept. I went, and as I expected, it was very strange to hear one referred to as ‘Mitchell’ in sentences like, ‘In this passage, Mitchell clearly means…’ when I’m actually in the room. It was odd for me; it was probably even stranger for people reading their papers out.
Perhaps most intriguing in Mitchell’s latest work is the cantankerous but charismatic Dr Marinus about whom Mitchell has enjoyed creating a certain mystery both within the text and without. In interview with Begley, Mitchell confides that ‘readers of this book don’t know it, but in Thousand Autumns he’s on his twenty-eighth lifetime’ (Begley, 2010) and to John Self he elaborates that ‘there’s much more than meets the eye with Marinus in particular. He will appear in my next novel, set around now.
Also, like Orito, he realizes that it is stories that provide escape. Cavendish observes that: Mother used to say escape is never further than the nearest book. Well, Mumsy, no, not really. Your beloved large-print sagas of rags, riches and heartbreak were no camouflage against the miseries trained on you by the tennis-ball launcher of life, were they? But, yes, Mum, there again, you have a point. Books don’t offer real escape but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw. (CA, 373) Similarly, Orito observes that, ‘an ink-brush … is a skeleton key for a prisoner’s mind’ (TA, 192).