Joseph McElroy

Steffen Hantke (Sogang University)
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Joseph McElroy is one of the great contemporary American novelists, a stylist and innovator comparable only to Thomas Pynchon, William Gaddis, or Don DeLillo. Having published his first novel,

A Smuggler’s Bible

, in 1966, McElroy is often associated with the first wave of postmodernist writing in America. However, his unique way of responding to the postmodern challenge to narrative places him in a category of his own, either as a belated high modernist or as a practitioner of a postmodernism that exists in what he himself has called, in the subtitle of one of his novels, a “paraphase,” a transitional space that exists side by side with the predominant or overt discourse of the time.

McElroy stands aside from many of his literary contemporaries because his concerns are not primarily

2071 words

Citation: Hantke, Steffen. "Joseph McElroy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3040, accessed 15 April 2024.]

3040 Joseph McElroy 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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