modern and postmodern literature pdf

Modern and postmodern literature pdf

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What's the Difference Between Modernism and Postmodernism in Literature?

Society, Philosophy, Literature

‘Modern,’ ‘Postmodern’ and ‘Contemporary’ as Criteria for the Analysis of 20th Century Literature

It is difficult to give a clear definition of modernism and postmodernism. It can be said that both are cultural currents that encompass a range of artistic expressions in painting, sculpture, literature, and architecture over a certain period of time although not clearly demarcated.

What's the Difference Between Modernism and Postmodernism in Literature?

Postmodern literature is a form of literature that is characterized by the use of metafiction , unreliable narration , self-reflexivity , intertextuality , and which often thematizes both historical and political issues. This style of experimental literature emerged strongly in the United States in the s through the writings of authors such as Kurt Vonnegut , Thomas Pynchon , Kathy Acker , and John Barth.

Postmodernists often challenge authorities , which has been seen as a symptom of the fact that this style of literature first emerged in the context of political tendencies in the s.

Sometimes the term "postmodernism" is used to discuss many different things ranging from architecture to historical theory to philosophy and film. Because of this fact, several people distinguish between several forms of postmodernism and thus suggest that there are three forms of postmodernism: 1 Postmodernity is understood as a historical period from the mids to the present, which is different from the 2 theoretical postmodernism, which encompasses the theories developed by thinkers such as Roland Barthes , Jacques Derrida , Michel Foucault and others.

Postmodern literature is, in this sense, part of cultural postmodernism. Late 19th and early 20th century playwrights whose work influenced the aesthetics of postmodernism include August Strindberg , [7] Luigi Pirandello , [8] and Bertolt Brecht.

Another way Dadaism influenced postmodern literature was in the development of collage, specifically collages using elements from advertisement or illustrations from popular novels the collages of Max Ernst , for example. Artists associated with Surrealism , which developed from Dadaism, continued experimentations with chance and parody while celebrating the flow of the subconscious mind.

He used automatism to create his novel Nadja and used photographs to replace description as a parody of the overly-descriptive novelists he often criticized. Foucault also uses examples from Jorge Luis Borges , an important direct influence on many postmodernist fiction writers. The influence of his experiments with metafiction and magic realism was not fully realized in the Anglo-American world until the postmodern period.

Ultimately, this is seen as the highest stratification of criticism among scholars. Other early 20th-century novels such as Raymond Roussel 's Impressions d'Afrique and Locus Solus , and Giorgio de Chirico 's Hebdomeros have also been identified as important "postmodern precursor[s]". Postmodern literature represents a break from the 19th century realism. In character development, both modern and postmodern literature explore subjectivism , turning from external reality to examine inner states of consciousness, in many cases drawing on modernist examples in the " stream of consciousness " styles of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf , or explorative poems like The Waste Land by T.

In addition, both modern and postmodern literature explore fragmentariness in narrative- and character-construction.

The Waste Land is often cited as a means of distinguishing modern and postmodern literature. Modernist literature sees fragmentation and extreme subjectivity as an existential crisis, or Freudian internal conflict, a problem that must be solved, and the artist is often cited as the one to solve it. Postmodernists, however, often demonstrate that this chaos is insurmountable; the artist is impotent, and the only recourse against "ruin" is to play within the chaos.

Playfulness is present in many modernist works Joyce's Finnegans Wake or Woolf's Orlando , for example and they may seem very similar to postmodern works, but with postmodernism playfulness becomes central and the actual achievement of order and meaning becomes unlikely. Toklas has been interpreted as postmodern. As with all stylistic eras, no definite dates exist for the rise and fall of postmodernism's popularity. It was rejected for publication and remained supposedly lost until published posthumously in A revised version called The Dalkey Archive was published before the original in , two years before O'Brien died.

Notwithstanding its dilatory appearance, the literary theorist Keith Hopper regards The Third Policeman as one of the first of that genre they call the postmodern novel. The prefix "post", however, does not necessarily imply a new era.

Rather, it could also indicate a reaction against modernism in the wake of the Second World War with its disrespect for human rights, just confirmed in the Geneva Convention , through the rape of Nanking , the Bataan Death March , the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki , the Holocaust , the bombing of Dresden , the Katyn massacre , the fire-bombing of Tokyo , and Japanese American internment. It could also imply a reaction to significant post-war events: the beginning of the Cold War , the Civil Rights Movement , postcolonialism Postcolonial literature , and the rise of the personal computer Cyberpunk and Hypertext fiction.

Some further argue that the beginning of postmodern literature could be marked by significant publications or literary events.

For example, some mark the beginning of postmodernism with the first publication of John Hawkes ' The Cannibal in , the first performance of En attendant Godot in Waiting for Godot , , the first publication of Howl in or of Naked Lunch in Brian McHale details his main thesis on this shift, although many postmodern works have developed out of modernism, modernism is characterised by an epistemological dominant while postmodern works are primarily concerned with questions of ontology.

Though postmodernist literature does not include everything written in the postmodern period, several post-war developments in literature such as the Theatre of the Absurd , the Beat Generation , and magic realism have significant similarities. These developments are occasionally collectively labeled "postmodern"; more commonly, some key figures Samuel Beckett , William S.

The term "Theatre of the Absurd" was coined by Martin Esslin to describe a tendency in theatre in the s; he related it to Albert Camus 's concept of the absurd.

The plays of the Theatre of the Absurd parallel postmodern fiction in many ways. One of the most important figures to be categorized as both Absurdist and Postmodern is Samuel Beckett. He had close ties with modernism because of his friendship with James Joyce; however, his work helped shape the development of literature away from modernism.

Joyce, one of the exemplars of modernism, celebrated the possibility of language; Beckett had a revelation in that, in order to escape the shadow of Joyce, he must focus on the poverty of language and man as a failure.

His later work, likewise, featured characters stuck in inescapable situations attempting impotently to communicate whose only recourse is to play, to make the best of what they have. As Hans-Peter Wagner says:. Mostly concerned with what he saw as impossibilities in fiction identity of characters; reliable consciousness; the reliability of language itself; and the rubrication of literature in genres Beckett's experiments with narrative form and with the disintegration of narration and character in fiction and drama won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in His works published after are mostly meta-literary attempts that must be read in light of his own theories and previous works and the attempt to deconstruct literary forms and genres.

Beckett's last text published during his lifetime, Stirrings Still , breaks down the barriers between drama, fiction, and poetry, with texts of the collection being almost entirely composed of echoes and reiterations of his previous work He was definitely one of the fathers of the postmodern movement in fiction which has continued undermining the ideas of logical coherence in narration, formal plot, regular time sequence, and psychologically explained characters.

The " Beat Generation " was the youth of America during the materialistic s; Jack Kerouac , who coined the term, developed ideas of automatism into what he called "spontaneous prose" to create a maximalistic, multi-novel epic called the Duluoz Legend in the mold of Marcel Proust 's In Search of Lost Time. These writers have occasionally also been referred to as the "Postmoderns" see especially references by Charles Olson and the Grove anthologies edited by Donald Allen. Though this is now a less common usage of "postmodern", references to these writers as "postmodernists" still appear and many writers associated with this group John Ashbery , Richard Brautigan , Gilbert Sorrentino , and so on appear often on lists of postmodern writers.

One writer associated with the Beat Generation who appears most often on lists of postmodern writers is William S. Burroughs published Naked Lunch in Paris in and in America in ; this is considered by some the first truly postmodern novel because it is fragmentary, with no central narrative arc; it employs pastiche to fold in elements from popular genres such as detective fiction and science fiction ; it's full of parody, paradox, and playfulness; and, according to some accounts, friends Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg edited the book guided by chance.

He is also noted, along with Brion Gysin , for the creation of the " cut-up " technique, a technique similar to Tzara's "Dadaist Poem" in which words and phrases are cut from a newspaper or other publication and rearranged to form a new message.

Though the technique has its roots in traditional storytelling, it was a center piece of the Latin American "boom" , a movement coterminous with postmodernism. This labeling, however, is not without its problems. In Spanish-speaking Latin America, modernismo and posmodernismo refer to early 20th-century literary movements that have no direct relationship to modernism and postmodernism in English. Along with Beckett and Borges, a commonly cited transitional figure is Vladimir Nabokov ; like Beckett and Borges, Nabokov started publishing before the beginning of postmodernity in Russian, in English.

Though his most famous novel, Lolita , could be considered a modernist or a postmodernist novel, his later work specifically Pale Fire in and Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle in are more clearly postmodern.

Thomas Pynchon 's novel Gravity's Rainbow is "often considered as the postmodern novel, redefining both postmodernism and the novel in general. The s, however, also saw several key works of postmodern literature. Don DeLillo 's White Noise , Paul Auster 's New York Trilogy and this is also the era when literary critics wrote some of the classic works of literary history, charting American postmodern literature: works by Brian McHale , Linda Hutcheon , and Paul Maltby who argues that it was not until the s that the term "postmodern" caught on as the label for this style of writing.

Several themes and techniques are indicative of writing in the postmodern era. These themes and techniques are often used together. For example, metafiction and pastiche are often used for irony. These are not used by all postmodernists, nor is this an exclusive list of features. Linda Hutcheon claimed postmodern fiction as a whole could be characterized by the ironic quote marks, that much of it can be taken as tongue-in-cheek.

This irony , along with black humor and the general concept of "play" related to Derrida's concept or the ideas advocated by Roland Barthes in The Pleasure of the Text are among the most recognizable aspects of postmodernism. Though the idea of employing these in literature did not start with the postmodernists the modernists were often playful and ironic , they became central features in many postmodern works.

It is common for postmodernists to treat serious subjects in a playful and humorous way: for example, the way Heller and Vonnegut address the events of World War II. The central concept of Heller's Catch is the irony of the now-idiomatic " catch ", and the narrative is structured around a long series of similar ironies. Thomas Pynchon 's The Crying of Lot 49 in particular provides prime examples of playfulness, often including silly wordplay, within a serious context.

For example, it contains characters named Mike Fallopian and Stanley Koteks and a radio station called KCUF, while the novel as a whole has a serious subject and a complex structure. Since postmodernism represents a decentred concept of the universe in which individual works are not isolated creations, much of the focus in the study of postmodern literature is on intertextuality : the relationship between one text a novel for example and another or one text within the interwoven fabric of literary history.

Intertextuality in postmodern literature can be a reference or parallel to another literary work , an extended discussion of a work, or the adoption of a style.

In postmodern literature this commonly manifests as references to fairy tales—as in works by Margaret Atwood , Donald Barthelme , and many others—or in references to popular genres such as sci-fi and detective fiction. Often intertextuality is more complicated than a single reference to another text.

Related to postmodern intertextuality, pastiche means to combine, or "paste" together, multiple elements. In Postmodernist literature this can be a homage to or a parody of past styles. It can be seen as a representation of the chaotic, pluralistic, or information-drenched aspects of postmodern society. It can be a combination of multiple genres to create a unique narrative or to comment on situations in postmodernity : for example, William S.

Burroughs uses science fiction, detective fiction, westerns; Margaret Atwood uses science fiction and fairy tales; Umberto Eco uses detective fiction, fairy tales, and science fiction, and so on. Though pastiche commonly involves the mixing of genres, many other elements are also included metafiction and temporal distortion are common in the broader pastiche of the postmodern novel. Pastiche can instead involve a compositional technique, for example the cut-up technique employed by Burroughs.

Another example is B. Johnson 's novel The Unfortunates ; it was released in a box with no binding so that readers could assemble it however they chose. Metafiction is essentially writing about writing or "foregrounding the apparatus", as it's typical of deconstructionist approaches, [37] making the artificiality of art or the fictionality of fiction apparent to the reader and generally disregards the necessity for "willing suspension of disbelief.

Metafiction is often employed to undermine the authority of the author, for unexpected narrative shifts, to advance a story in a unique way, for emotional distance, or to comment on the act of storytelling. For example, Italo Calvino 's novel If on a winter's night a traveler is about a reader attempting to read a novel of the same name.

Kurt Vonnegut also commonly used this technique: the first chapter of his novel Slaughterhouse-Five is about the process of writing the novel and calls attention to his own presence throughout the novel. Though much of the novel has to do with Vonnegut's own experiences during the firebombing of Dresden, Vonnegut continually points out the artificiality of the central narrative arc which contains obviously fictional elements such as aliens and time travel.

Similarly, Tim O'Brien 's short story cycle The Things They Carried , about one platoon's experiences during the Vietnam War , features a character named Tim O'Brien; though O'Brien was a Vietnam veteran, the book is a work of fiction and O'Brien calls into question the fictionality of the characters and incidents throughout the book. Factual retellings of war stories, the narrator says, would be unbelievable, and heroic, moral war stories don't capture the truth.

David Foster Wallace in The Pale King writes that the copyright page claims it is fiction only for legal purposes, and that everything within the novel is non-fiction. He employs a character in the novel named David Foster Wallace. Fabulation is a term sometimes used interchangeably with metafiction and relates to pastiche and Magic Realism.

It is a rejection of realism which embraces the notion that literature is a created work and not bound by notions of mimesis and verisimilitude. Thus, fabulation challenges some traditional notions of literature—the traditional structure of a novel or role of the narrator, for example—and integrates other traditional notions of storytelling, including fantastical elements, such as magic and myth, or elements from popular genres such as science fiction.

By some accounts, the term was coined by Robert Scholes in his book The Fabulators. Strong examples of fabulation in contemporary literature are found in Salman Rushdie 's Haroun and the Sea of Stories. According to Fowler, "the poioumenon is calculated to offer opportunities to explore the boundaries of fiction and reality—the limits of narrative truth.

Common examples of this are Thomas Carlyle 's Sartor Resartus , and Laurence Sterne 's Tristram Shandy , which is about the narrator's frustrated attempt to tell his own story.

Society, Philosophy, Literature

People have remarked its simply--easy flowing lyricism, its rich natural poetry; and they may assume that it came to bloom as easily as a flower. In truth, it was born in an agony of internal tightness, conflict, and chaos. It is true that some portions, after I had cleared the way, came forth fluently. But the book as a whole was somehow distilled from the most terrible strain I have ever known. The feelings were in me, deep and mobile enough.

Access options available:. Horvath Larry McCaffery , ed. Movements in the Arts 2. New York: Greenwood, Jerome Klinkowitz. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, Robert D.

‘Modern,’ ‘Postmodern’ and ‘Contemporary’ as Criteria for the Analysis of 20th Century Literature

Postmodernism , also spelled post-modernism , in Western philosophy , a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism , subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason ; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power. Postmodernism is a late 20th-century movement in philosophy and literary theory that generally questions the basic assumptions of Western philosophy in the modern period roughly, the 17th century through the 19th century. Postmodern philosophy is characterized by broad skepticism or relativism and a general suspicion of reason. It also broadly asserts that Western intellectual and cultural norms and values are a product of, or are in some sense influenced by, the ideology of dominant or elite groups and at least indirectly serve their interests. Although some postmodernists reject the relativist label, many postmodern doctrines constitute or imply some form of relativism.

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Draws a distinction, via the edited text of an interview, between a sociology of postmodernity and postmodernism: the latter has an emphasis on theory and its intertextuality while the former would focus more evidently on discontinuities in the empirical world which serve to mark a difference from the ways in which that world has been appropriated and appreciated through a more modernist perspective. Rouleau, L. Report bugs here.


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