Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1874-8767
  • E-ISSN: 1874-8775
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British writer Tom McCarthy has repeatedly taken aim at what he calls a “sentimental humanism” and the contemporary cult of the “authentic self”. This article investigates his work through the lens of that critique. Extrapolating from McCarthy’s public statements, I endeavour to delineate sentimental humanism as a mode of cultural production and flesh out his linking of it to a neoliberal political economy. I show how his antagonism manifests itself in his work, particularly his debut novel, . By contrast, his latest novel, , marks a turning point in that trajectory. Although implicitly framed by its author as a way of thematising the challenges with which Big Data has confronted literature, more specifically reveals that his anti-humanist agenda has also reached an impasse. Much of the logic behind the critique of sentimental humanism mounted by , I argue, is in a sense pre-empted or assimilated by the kinds of corporate digital environments described in .


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): authenticity; neoliberalism; Remainder; Satin Island; sentimental humanism; Tom McCarthy
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