The Promise of Nostalgia

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Nicola Sayers’s PhD thesis, written at the IMLR and funded by the Friends of Germanic Studies, has recently been published by Routledge.

The Promise of Nostalgia analyses a range of texts –  including The Virgin Suicides, both the novel by Jeffrey Eugenides' and Sofia Coppola's screen adaptation, photography of Detroit's 'abandoned spaces', and blogger Tavi Gevinson's media output – to explore nostalgia as a prominent affect in contemporary American cultural production. Counter to the prevalent caricature of nostalgia as anti-future, the book proposes a more nuanced reading of its stakes and meanings. Instead of understanding it as evidence of the absence of utopia it contends that there is a masked utopian impulse in this nostalgia 'mode' and critical potential in what has typically been dismissed as ideological.

The Promise of Nostalgia. Reminiscence, Longing and Hope in Contemporary American Culture by Nicola Sayers (ISBN 9780367134983; 240 pp.) was published in January 2020 by Routledge.