Arguing that the unprecedented nature of our first postmodernist war demanded either the revision of traditional modes of war writing or the discovery of new styles that would render the emotional and psychological center of a new national trauma, this study assesses the most important novels and personal memoirs written by Americans about the Vietnam War. Myers examines the work of Tim O'Brien, David Halberstam, Ward Just, Stephen Wright, John Del Vecchio, and others working in the modes of realism, the classical memoir, black humor, revised romanticism, and mnemonic narrative. Drawing on the work of thinkers such as Hayden White, Fredric Jameson, and Michel Foucault--whose understanding of the written text as a battleground of competing historical voices expands any definition of historical text--Myers defines the historical novel as a text that self-consciously and imaginatively shapes lived experience into a readable aesthetic form.
- Publication Date:
- 07 / 07 / 1988