This article explores the melodramatic political and media dynamic in Amy Waldman’s The Submission (2011) as an “orgy of feeling” – a process in which traumatic emotions are relocated and enhanced to ensure a sense of victimization – a concept used by Elisabeth Anker to describe how melodramatic political discourse can be effectively deployed to shape and influence collective political attitude. Bringing Anker’s theory to bear on The Submission, this article argues that the novel is both an accurate representation of the “affective work of melodramatic political discourse” (Anker 150) and a critical reflection on the dynamics and defects of a predominantly melodramatic society. In doing so, Waldman contributes to a counter-narrative that argues that both the melodramatic 9/11 narrative and the melodramatic cultural mode that produces this narrative are highly problematic.
Melodramatic political discourse, orgy of feeling, post-9/11 fiction.
Digressions 2.2 (2017), pp. 14-28
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Johanna Catharina 't Hart - “Jesus Fucking Christ! It’s a Goddamn Muslim!”: Orgies of Feeling at Work in Amy Waldman’s The Submission