Dominika Oramus
J. G. Ballard and the Disaster Story Tradition in England

ISBN 83-91144-86-0

Warsaw 2005

Introduction 7

Part I – J.G. Ballard, John Wyndham and the Disaster Story Tradition in England 9
The British Disaster Story  10
John Wyndham’s cosy catastrophes 15
Ballard’s early disaster stories 28
The inner space disaster  35
The televised disaster  46

Part II – J.G. Ballard and the British „New Wave”  55
The British „The Wave”  56
Entropy  61
Disaster  71
The Present Tense  80
Conclusion 86

Part III – J.G. Ballard’s Short Fiction  87
Early psychological stories  90
Sociological fiction  95
Quasi-history  103
The future of the West  114

Part IV – J.G. Ballard’s „The Atrocity Exhibition” as a Contemporary Disaster Novel 121
Disaster Novel  121
The Exhibits  124
The Visions of Disaster  133
The Structure  137
Dr Nathan, the Analyst  146
Catastrophe is here and now  150
Freudian fiction  157

Bibliography 165
Introduction - J.G. Ballard is now one of the major English literature writers and his popularity is constantly growing. Since the great artistic and commercial success of his 1984 novel, Empire of the Sun he has entered the canon of the 20th century most prominent novelists and the number of critical essays and monographs devoted to his oeuvre is increasing. It is worth noticing that Ballard’s career began as early as the 1950s and that before becoming a distinguished mainstream author of classics his style went through numerous metamorphoses. He was in turn a science fiction writer, a member of an avant-garde literary group ‘New Wave’, and a postmodernist Pynchon-like experimenter.

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