Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Extended Essay: Orwell, Welsh, Palahniuk

Michael Kemp received a Commendation for a formidable and wide-ranging Transition Year Extended Essay on 'Transgressive Fiction', in which he compared George Orwell's 1984, Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, and Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club.

Michael writes: The term Transgressive Fiction was coined in the last twenty years although the works of Marquis De Sade from the 17th century are certainly the first of the genre; but most novels put under obscenity trails have been considered Transgressive (even James Joyce’s Ulysses). Transgressive fiction has a wide base, from the work of the 50s New Age Beat Writers, to the bitter realism of Hubert Selby Jr. and the drug fuelled accounts of Hunter S. Thompson’s dying American Dream, have all set the foundations for Transgressive Fiction.

The Genre really soared during the 90s with the rise of alternative rock and its anti-establishment subculture. Also the arrivals of Transgressive protégés Bret Easton Ellis, Irvine Welsh and Chuck Palahniuk increased the Transgressive writer’s influence. This led to the extreme success of Douglas Copeland’s
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (which he recently released a similarly titled novel containing the same subject matter called Generation A, intended for our own generation). Transgressive fiction is still young and each of its voices has a signature style, subject matter varies from across the globe. The trend in Britain being that its subjects are the lower and working class; while in America they focus on the mediocrity of being middle class.

Read Michael's full essay here.

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