Episodic and disconnected, much of postmodern fiction mirrors the world as quantum theorists describe it, according to Samuel Chase Coale. In Quirks of the Quantum, Coale shows how the doubts, misgivings, and ambiguities reflected in the postmodern American novel have been influenced by the metaphors and models of quantum theory. Coale explains the basic facets of quantum theory in lay terms and then applies them to a selection of texts, including Don DeLillo's Underworld, Joan Didion's Democracy, and Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day. Using a new approach to literature and culture, this book aims to bridge the gap between science and the humanities by suggesting the many areas where they connect.
Coale is an outstanding reader of the most challenging fictional texts of the past twenty years. He uses the lens of quantum theory to understand the postmodern impulses in these texts that are most baffling to readers, students, teachers, and even critics. He explains with admirable lucidity the characteristics of the quantum vision, and he shows persuasively how these appear (and reshape literary traditions) in contemporary fictional texts. His readings are original and important. This is a major new book in the field.
Samuel Chase Coale, Professor of American Literature and Culture at Wheaton College, is the author of Paradigms of Paranoia: The Culture of Conspiracy in Contemporary American Fiction, among other books.