A concluding discussion elicits the characteristics of the English condition of culture novel, in an international setting, and closes in, finally, on the central conundrum of the genre: its uncanny reprise, in its own plane, of the historical arc of the modern labour movement in Britain, from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century through its post-war heyday to the seemingly inexorable decline of recent decades.
“Very welcome and important … the book is at once indispensable.”
“Extraordinarily thorough and responsive ... austerely elegant ... in praise of a distinguished essay in cultural history and critical theory.”
“This is a book to be grateful for.”
“A richly informing and provocative work of intellectual history ... Mulhern marshals his evidence stwith a rare power of argument and a scrupulous fairness of coverage.”
“An important and valuable book ... written with intensity and intelligence.”
“An extraordinary, thoughtful and thought-provoking study, 'Figures of Catastrophe' is very highly recommended for community and academic library Literary Studies reference collections and supplemental curriculums.”
“In Mulhern’s hands, the semiotic square reveals structural continuities between a wide range of novels without reducing them to an inexorable template…[F]ew critics could match the subtlety of Mulhern’s interpretations or the eloquent precision of his prose. Perhaps the best thing about this book is that it sends the reader back to the novels to test out its hypotheses, thus providing an education in the condition of culture novel and its polymorphic figures of catastrophe.”