What is it about?

Donald Trump's presidency represents a chaotic turn in American politics, but how departed from late twentieth century culture is this era of post-truth? This article considers how post-truth culture's dismissal of facts transforms our understanding of American Psycho's harrowing critique of consumer capitalism. Overall, the article suggests post-truth culture can be viewed as a logical outcome of both late twentieth century capitalism and postmodern literary styles, translating these features from fictional texts to a political reality.

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Why is it important?

This article offers a unique reading of American Psycho as contemporary novel. By considering the connections between post-truth culture and postmodern American fiction, it questions whether postmodernism has been transformed and reformulated in contemporary America, rather than being left in the twentieth century. Its reflection upon the cyclical features of capitalism recognizes the cross-over influences of the novel and the New Right. In doing so, it also makes an original contribution to knowledge regarding the influence of American Psycho within the New Right, post-truth culture, and Donald Trump's presidency.


I hope this article challenges people to rethink two things. Firstly, how post-truth culture does not exist in a bubble, but has developed from a set of longstanding features connected to twentieth century American culture. Secondly, how we can reconsider the contemporary relevance of postmodern fiction in light of this connection between post-truth culture and consumer capitalism. To consider these connections provides opportunities to reflect upon the values and mechanisms of contemporary society, offering some level of context to the apparently chaotic features of contemporary capitalism.

Matt Graham
Manchester Metropolitan University

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This page is a summary of: Twenty‐First Century Postmodernism: The Legacy of American Psycho in the Era of Donald Trump, The Journal of American Culture, September 2021, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/jacc.13281.
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