'Transatlantic Class: Martin Amis and the "Special Relationship" of the 1980s'. Symbiosis 12.1

Author: Hutchinson, Colin


A Humanities-Ebooks ‘Reprint’, 2010. 19 pages, secure PDF. 265k. Permissions: printing allowed, copying disabled

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This essay was originally published in Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations, Volume 12.1 (April 2008).

Keywords and Topics


Martin Amis, The Moronic Inferno, London Fields, Money, The Information




“Martin Amis is one of the few genuinely ‘transatlantic’ novelists of the contemporary period. Amis merits this description because he was raised and educated, and has lived in, both nations (as well as Uruguay), and because his fiction has both British and American settings and characters (often in the same novel). In this essay, I argue that Amis’s ‘transatlanticism’ runs deeper, in that the ideological shifts I detect between his early and mid-period fiction run in parallel with the nature of the so-called ‘special relationship’ between the US and the UK over the past few decades. Central to my argument (and to the novels discussed here) is the notion of ‘Americanization’: a vague but potent term in the UK that in turn reveals much about the terms of the ‘special relationship’, particularly from a British perspective. Amis’s work also serves as a useful illustration of the situation of the ‘social novel’—that is, the novel that addresses themes of social and political interest in a more or less explicit manner—in the context of the triumph of the New Right in the 1980s and 1990s.”

About the author

Authior's Affiliation: University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

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