Basics of LiteratureLiterature

Postmodernism; What is the Postmodern Theory?

5 Mins read


The term postmodernism appeared ultimately of the 1950s and 60s, as a way to classify the cultural phenomena that have been occurring. As the term implies, postmodernism is one thing that comes after modernism. Actually, it’s inconceivable to set an idea of postmodernism with out referring to modernism. In a common means, modernism represented a historic course of by which the arts have dissociated themselves from the 19th century assumptions. The starting of the 20th century reveals a distinct world from that of the Victorian Era. The First World War is accountable for deep modifications in society. Scientific explanations change into extra complicated. Freud reveals the significance of the unconscious. The conventional bourgeois realism is rejected. All these modifications affect art and literature. Self-consciousness in direction of the murals turns into intense. In literature, as an illustration, writers discover multi factors of view, breaking with the linear stream of narrative that presents beginning,middle and end. Art is just not thought-about one thing sacred anymore and it ends in a big use of parody and satire. Another necessary attribute is full freedom to create. The artist is just not certain to any sort of conventions,or social dedication, or whatever. Literature turns into extra abstraction and is constructed upon psychological and religious experiences. The avant-garde movements like dadaism, surrealism, cubism, futurism , imagism, expressionism, post-impressionism characterize a number of faces of modernism.

Read About: Modernism and Post-Modernism Characteristics

Postmodern Literature

Postmodern literature is a type of literature which is marked, each stylistically and ideologically, by a reliance on such literary conventions as fragmentation, paradox, unreliable narrators, typically unrealistic and downright unattainable plots, games, parody, paranoia, use of dark/black humor and authorial self-reference. Postmodern authors are inclined to reject outright meanings of their novels, tales and poems, and, as an alternative, spotlight and rejoice the potential of a number of meanings, or a whole lack of meaning, inside a single literary work.

Postmodern literature additionally  rejects the boundaries between ‘high’ and ‘low’ types of artwork and literature, in addition to the distinctions between totally different genres and types of writing and storytelling.

Stylistic Techniques of Postmodern Literature

Pastiche: The taking of varied concepts from earlier writings and literary types and pasting them collectively to make new styles.

Intertextuality: The acknowledgment of earlier literary works inside one other literary work.

Metafiction: The act of writing about writing or making readers conscious of the fictional nature of the very fiction they’re studying.

Temporal Distortion: The use of non-linear timelines and narrative methods in a narrative.

Minimalism: The use of characters and occasions that are decidedly widespread and non-exceptional characters.

Maximalism: Disorganized, prolonged, extremely detailed writing.

Magical Realism: The introduction of unattainable or unrealistic occasions right into a narrative that’s in any other case realistic.

Read About: The Romantic Movement in Literature

Faction: The mixing of precise historic occasions with fictional occasions with out clearly defining what’s factual and what’s fictional.

Reader Involvement: Often by means of direct deal with the reader and the open acknowledgment of the fictional nature of the occasions being described.

Many critics discover it finest to outline postmodern literature in opposition to the popular literary style that got here earlier than it: modernism. In some ways, postmodern literary styles and concepts serve to dispute, reverse, mock and reject the rules of modernist literature.

For instance, as an alternative of following the usual modernist literary quest for meaning in a chaotic world, postmodern literature tends to eschew, typically playfully, the very chance of meaning. The postmodern novel, story or poem is usually introduced as a parody of the modernist literary quest for meaning. Thomas Pynchon’s postmodern novel The Crying of Lot 49 is an ideal instance of this. In this novel, the protagonist’s quest for information and understanding outcomes finally in confusion and the shortage of any kind of clear understanding of the events that transpired.

Philosophy of Postmodernism

Many theoreticians write and expose their notion of what postmodernism is. Let’s briefly discuss them.

Ihab Hassan – American. Wrote The dismemberment of Orpheus: Towards a Postmodern Literature. For him, postmodernism is the antithesis of modernism.
Brian MacHale – What occurred was a change of the dominant. The dominant is an idea established by Jakobson. The dominant is the focusing part of a murals: it guidelines, determines and transforms the remaining elements. It provides the work its natural unity. For Brian MacHale, the dominant of modernism is epistemological, it brings out questions associated to knowledge and interpretation, resembling: “How can I Interpret this world of which I’m part? What is there to be identified? Who is aware of it? How is information transmitted from one knower to a different? How does the item of knowledge change because it passes from knower to knower? what are the boundaries of the knowable? And so on. In fiction the dominant is ontological. The questions it asks are: which world is that this? What is to be carried out in it? Which of my selves is to do it? What is a world? What sorts of worlds are there, how are they constituted, and the way do they differ? So, the modernist texts present a priority concerning the limits and potentialities of the person’s consciousness, whereas postmodernist texts are involved with the creation of autonomous worlds.
Linda Hutcheon – For Linda Hutcheon what characterizes postmodernist fiction is what she calls historio-graphic metafiction, there may be, these novels that are each intensive and self-reflexive and use historic events and personages. But such events and personages are fictionalized, distorted, exhibiting historical past own fictionality. 

Read About: Some Common Themes in Literature
Fredric Jameson- Postmodernism is the cultural logic of late capitalism, there may be, he sees the economic construction of the world reflecting within the tradition. The Postmodern world might be characterised as one wherein the alienation of the subject is displaced by the fragmentation of the subject. Postmodernism doesn’t produce great works like modernism, it rearranges the fragments. The impossibility to have a singular and private fashion has introduced a brand new practice: pastiche. The cultural manufacturing of postmodernism is mere pastiche.

Postmodern literature serves as a response to the supposed stylistic and ideological limitations of modernist literature and the unconventional modifications the world underwent after the end of World War II. While modernist literary writers typically depicted the world as fragmented, troubled and on the sting of catastrophe, which is finest displayed within the tales and novels of such modernist authors as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Albert Camus, Virginia Woolf and Thomas Mann, postmodern authors are inclined to depict the world as having already undergone numerous disasters and being beyond redemption or understanding.

Postmodern literary writers have additionally been drastically influenced by varied actions and concepts taken from postmodern philosophy. Postmodern philosophy tends to conceptualize the world as being unattainable to strictly outline or perceive. Postmodern philosophy argues that knowledge and information are all the time relative to specific conditions and that it is each futile and unattainable to try to find any exact meaning to any concept, idea or event.

Postmodern philosophy tends to resign the potential of ‘grand narratives’ and, as an alternative, argues that every one belief systems and ideologies are developed for the categorical objective of controlling others and sustaining specific political and social systems. The postmodern philosophical perspective is fairly cynical and takes nothing that’s introduced at face worth or as being reliable.

Examples of Postmodern Literature

Postmodern literature is just not particular to writers from any specific area or tradition. There are 1000’s of writers and literary works from all over the world that are thought of postmodern by critics. Among probably the most well-known and critically revered works of postmodern literature include:

Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow

Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities

Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot

Margret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude

David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest

All of those literary works are remarkably totally different from one another in style, ideology and plot. However, all of them play with numerous postmodern conventions and both reject, mock or utterly re-work earlier types of literary writing. Furthermore, all of them embrace some facet of the postmodern worldview that nothing is absolute or inherently true.

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