Dawes on "The Novel of Human Rights"

By Hadji Bakara


James Dawes, author of "Evil Men" (2013) and "That The World May Know: Bearing Witness to Atrocity" (2007), has published a lead article from a new project,  on "The Novel of Human Rights," in the Spring 2016 volume of the journal American Literature. Here is the abstract for the essay

In this essay, I identify the centers of aesthetic gravity that pull texts together into what I have come to think of as a subgenre of the contemporary US novel: namely, the novel of human rights. What connective structures and recurring concerns can be discerned at this early stage in the development of the subgenre? How do its ethical pressures generate formal pat- terns and, in turn, how do its formal patterns generate ethical pressures? And finally, since both the textual and political forms are rapidly evolving, what can this rising subgenre teach us about the near futures of literature and literary studies in the United States?

Keywords John Edgar Wideman, Francisco Goldman, civil rights, genre, economic and social rights