The last decades have seen a revival of fragmentation in British and American works of fiction that deny linearity, coherence and continuity in favour of disruption, gaps and fissures. Authors such as Ali Smith, David Mitchell and David Shields have sought new ways of representing our global, media-saturated contemporary experience which differ from modernist and postmodernist experimentations from which the writers nevertheless draw inspiration. This volume aims to investigate some of the most important contributions to fragmentary literature from British and American writers since the 1990s, with a particular emphasis on texts released in the twenty-first century. The chapters within examine whether contemporary forms of literary fragmentation constitute a return to the modernist episteme or the fragmented literature of exhaustion of the 1960s, mark a continuity with postmodernist aesthetics or signal a deviation from past models and an attempt to reflect today’s accelerated culture of social media and over-communication. 

Contributors theorise and classify literary fragments, examine the relationship between fragmentation and the Zeitgeist (influenced by globalisation, media saturation and social networks), analyse the mechanics of multimodal and multimedial fictions, and consider the capacity of literary fragmentation to represent personal or collective trauma and to address ethical concerns. They also investigate the ways in which the architecture of the printed book is destabilised and how aesthetic processes involving fragmentation, bricolage and/or collage raise ontological, ethical and epistemological questions about the globalised contemporary world we live in and its relation to the self and the other. Besides the aforementioned authors, the volume makes reference to the works of J. G. Ballard, Julian Barnes, Mark Z. Danielewski, David Markson, Jonathan Safran Foer, David Foster Wallace, Jeanette Winterson and several others.  


List of figures 

Introduction: the art of the fragment 
Vanessa Guignery, École Normale Supérieure in Lyon
Wojciech Drąg, University of Wrocław

Part One
Forms of fragmentation: past and present 

Chapter 1 What is fragmentary fiction? 
Merritt Moseley, University of North Carolina at Asheville

Chapter 2 Fragmentary writing and polyphonic narratives in twenty-first-century fiction 
Mariano D’Ambrosio, University Paris 3 – Sorbonne Nouvelle

Chapter 3 The short story: fragment and augment
David Malcolm, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw

Part Two
The fragment and the whole 

Chapter 4 The architectural fragment: ruins and totality in J. G. Ballard’s fiction 
Marcin Tereszewski, University of Wrocław

Chapter 5 Fragmentary transtextuality: David Mitchell and his novel
Gerd Bayer, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Chapter 6 Fragmentary writing and globalization in Ali Smith’s Hotel World
Alicia J. Rouverol, University of Manchester

Chapter 7 Lives, etc.: fragments of lives in short stories by Julian Barnes 
Teresa Bruś, University of Wrocław

Chapter 8 “Make it new” to return as rupture and difference: a study of Jeanette Winterson’s The Gap of Time
Maria Antonietta Struzziero

Part Three
Fragmentation in the age of crisis 

Chapter 9 Collage manifestos: fragmentation and appropriation in David Markson’s This is Not a Novel and David Shields’s Reality Hunger 
Wojciech Drąg, University of Wrocław

Chapter 10 Fragmentation in David Foster Wallace’s fiction 
Jarosław Hetman, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń

Chapter 11 Trauma and the mechanics of fragmentation in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer 
Caroline Magnin, Sorbonne Université

Part Four
Multimodal and multimedial fragments 

Chapter 12 Singularity, multimodality, transmediality: fragmentary future(s) of the novel? 
Grzegorz Maziarczyk, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

Chapter 13 From Wunderkammer fragmentation to alternative history in Hexen 2.0 by Suzanne Treister 
Zofia Kolbuszewska, University of Wrocław

Chapter 14 Unbox the story: a look at contemporary shuffle narratives Côme Martin

Chapter 15 Fragmentation as building practice: the literary and musical collaboration between Thomas Ligotti and Current 93 for In a Foreign Town, in a Foreign Land 
Deborah Bridle, University of Côte d’Azur

Chapter 16 Fragments of a postscript 
Alison Gibbons, Sheffield Hallam University