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While New Literature is mainly concerned with the elements of language, new ways of using words, etc.—stylistic experimentation—a few themes emerge as well, such as “Ways of knowing” (epistemology) and its partner, “unreliable narration”—William Faulkner and John Steinback come to mind. Another central concern of the New Literature of the mid- to late 20th century was social identity—who are we in terms of our own self-consciousness, our own identity. Of course, Kafka is the best example, but he did not write in English—perhaps Stephen Hero, Joyce’s creation, is a good example. Finally, a theme driven home by Samuel Beckett and others—the nature of our existence—why or for what end are humans existing. Absent from thematic lists in New Literature are serious concern for changing society itself, or even pointing out society’s imperfections, political themes, etc.
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