Chuck Palahniuk, Parodist

Postmodern Irony in Six Transgressive Novels


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About the Book

Chuck Palahniuk, America’s premier transgressive novelist, enjoys a tremendous readership. Yet he has not necessarily been embraced by critics or academics. His prose is considered vulgar by some, but his body of work addresses a core motivation of 21st-century life: individual self-empowerment. Palahniuk writes about what it means to be on the outside looking in, revising familiar narratives for a contemporary audience to get at the heart of the human condition—everyone wants a chance to win his or her fair share, no matter the cost. In Haunted, Snuff, Pygmy, Tell-All, Damned and Invisible Monsters Remix, he confronts marginalization and disenfranchisement through parodies of various works—The Decameron, The Inferno, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, The Elephant Man—as well as Hollywood history, 1970s karate films and the porn industry. This comprehensive study of six novels refutes criticism that Palahniuk’s goals are to shock and sensationalize.

About the Author(s)

David McCracken is a professor of English at Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina. His areas of expertise are American literature, contemporary fiction, and rhetoric and composition.

Bibliographic Details

David McCracken

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7929-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2738-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
One—Chuck Palahniuk and Postmodern Parody 5
Two—Haunted as Parody of Boccaccio’s Decameron 19
Three—“True fact”: Hyperreality in Snuff 37
Four—Pygmy as Parody of 1970s Karate Films 54
Five—Tell-All as Parody of Hollywood’s Golden Age of Gossip Journalism 72
Six—Damned as Parody of Dante’s Inferno 90
Seven—The Elephant Man in Invisible Monsters Remix 110
Eight—Empowerment 124
Nine—The Rhetorical Situation 137
Ten—Future Postmodern Parody 178
Chapter Notes 191
Bibliography 203
Index 213