What is postmodernism essay example

Hartman "Modernity" is that period - nearly a century - beginning well before WW2 and ending well after it, in which science established facts, political theory established the social state, secularism overcame religious opinion, and the notion of shame was denied or explained away with various social conventions. It was an era dominated by the thought of Freud and Marx.

What is postmodernism essay example

Literature is not exhaustible for the simple and sufficient reason that no single book is. A book is not an isolated entity: Borges, "A Note on Toward Bernard Shaw" Over the past two decades, as the high tide of modernism ebbed and its masters died off, the baring of literary artifice has come to be more and more a basic procedure—at times, almost an obsession—of serious fiction in the West.

The creators of self-conscious fiction in our time do not constitute a school or a movement, and the lines of influence among them, or to them from their common predecessors, often tend to waver and blur when closely examined. Some of these writers have tried their hand at shorter fictional forms, which, after the Borgesian model, one now calls "fictions" rather than "short stories"; but most of them, perhaps inevitably, have turned back to, or stayed with, the novel, attracted by its large and various capacity to convey a whole imaginatively constituted world.

Scattered over three continents, they are an odd mixture of stubbornly private eccentrics, on the one hand, and promulgators of manifestoes, on the other; of powerfully evocative novelists or conductors of ingenious laboratory experiments in fiction; of exuberant comic artists and knowing guides to bleak dead ends of despair.

The whole reflexive tendency in contemporary fiction has been reinforced by the prominence of selfconscious cinema since the early sixties in the work of directors like Fellini, Antonioni, Resnais, and Godard. Film, because it is a collaborative artistic enterprise involving a complicated chain of technical procedures, almost invites attention to its constitutive processes; and there is a clear logic in the involvement in filmmaking of several of the French New Novelists, or in the repeated recourse to cinematic composition by montage in a writer like Robert Coover.

Our culture, a kind of Faust at the mirror of Narcissus, is more and more driven to uncover the roots of what it lives with most basically—language and its origins, human sexuality, the workings of the psyche, the inherited structures of the mind, the underlying patterns of social organization, the sources of value and belief, and, of course, the nature of art.

If this is the moment of the self-conscious novel, that is decidedly a mixed blessing, as the spectacular unevenness of innovative fiction today would indicate.

The growing insistence of self-awareness in our culture at large has been both a liberating and a paralyzing force, and that is equally true of its recent developments in artistic expression. In this regard, criticism must be especially wary.

The kind of criticism that often has to be invoked in discussing a traditional realistic novel is in the indicative mode: It is all laid out for him across the printed pages of Tristram Shandy, ready to be analytically described, with no apparent need for recourse to a touchstone of "rightness" outside this and other literary texts.

For this reason an astute critic, impelled by his own professional concern with formal experiment, can easily make a piece of self-conscious fiction sound more profound, more finely resonant with implication, than it is in fact.

Introduction

Queneau begins his book by reporting a banal anecdote of a young man with a long neck and a missing button on his coat who is jostled in a crowded bus.

He tells this anecdote ninety-nine times, constantly changing the narrative viewpoint, the style, the literary conventions; going as far as the use of mathematical notation and anagrammatic scrambling of letters in one direction, and the resort to heavy dialect and badly anglicized French in the other; even rendering the incident in alexandrines, in free verse, as a sonnet, as a playlet.

All this is extremely ingenious, and, I would admit, more than ingenious, because as one reads the same simple episode over and over through all these acrobatic variations, one is forced to recognize both the stunning arbitrariness of any decision to tell a story in a particular way and the endless possibilities for creating fictional "facts" by telling a story differently.

The controlling perception, however, of Exercices is one that goes back to the generic beginnings of the novel; and to see how much more richly that insight can be extended into fictional space, one has only to think of Sterne, where a "Queneauesque" passage like the deliberately schematic "Tale of Two Lovers" is woven into a thick texture of amorous anecdotes that critically juxtapose literary convention with a sense of the erotic as a cogent fact of human experience.

Precisely what is missing from Exercices de style is any sense—and playfulness need not exclude seriousness—of human experience, which is largely kept out of the book in order to preserve the technical purity of the experiment. Queneau, of course, has written full-scale novels of flaunted artifice, both before and after Exercices de style, that do involve a more complex sense of experience.

One of the great temptations of the self-conscious novelist, however, is to content himself with technical experiment, trusting that in these difficult times but then the times are always difficult the only honesty, perhaps the only real profundity, lies in technical experiment.

The other, complementary fault of the self-conscious novel, also much in evidence among its contemporary practitioners, is to give free rein to every impulse of invention or fictional contrivance without distinguishing what may serve some artistic function in the novel and what is merely silly or self-indulgent.

After all, if in an old-fashioned novel you have to describe a petulant, spoiled young woman like Rosamund Vincy, you are obliged to make her as close a likeness as you can to observed examples of the type, and so some commonly perceived human reality provides a constant check on your inventiveness.

The second-remove novelist invented by the first-person narrator-novelist gives birth to a full-grown man that is, a new character ; but while this writer, fatigued with parturition, is asleep, his characters rebel against him, resenting the roles he has assigned them.

In the end, they subject him to the most hideous torture and maiming, recounted in detail page after page—by writing chapters of a novel within the novel-within-the-novel in which he suffers these horrors.

This scheme of recessed narratives also involves an amalgam of different kinds of fiction, starting with domestic realism in the frame story and running through the gunslinging western and the novel of erotic sensationalism to fairy tales and Irish myth.

If one thinks of the history of the self-conscious novel from its early masters down to Gide, to the parodistic or overtly contrived sections in Joyce and the Nabokov of Lolita and Pale Fire, "sham" becomes far too crude and demeaning as a synonym for artifice or imaginative contrivance. The artifice, moreover, should not be flatly "self-evident" but cunningly revealed, a hide-and-seek presence in the novel, a stubbornly ambiguous substratum of the whole fictional world.

At Swim-Two-Birds is a celebration of fabulation in which novelistic self-consciousness has gone slack because fiction is everywhere and there is no longer any quixotic tension between what is fictional and what is real. I am not aware that it has influenced later books, but it has certainly proved to be a novel ahead of its time, for its faults of conception and execution provide a perfect paradigm for those of much contemporary fiction, especially in this country, where a new literary ideology of fabulation has too often turned out to mean license, not liberty, for the novelist.

It would of course be foolish to claim that we are now in anything like that extraordinary period of innovative literary creativity of the s when modernism was in flower, but the opposite inference, that narrative literature has reached some terminal stage of sterility, is by no means necessary from the facts of contemporary writing.

I have dwelt upon the two chief temptations of the self-conscious novelist—arid exercise and indiscriminate invention—precisely because they should be recognized as dangers, not taken as the inevitable results whenever a writer determines artfully to expose the fictiveness of his fiction.

In fact, the prominent flaunting of artifice has led to some of the most impressive successes in the contemporary novel as well as to some of its most evident lapses, and the successes are by no means restricted to elder statesmen like Beckett and Nabokov.

In America, one might mention Barth, who in different books has been both an impressively original writer and an embarrassingly puerile one; or Coover, who has gone beyond manipulations of technique to a vividly imagined satire where fantasy and reality enrich one another.

The old question of the death of the novel, which seems as doggedly persistent as the novel itself, is in the air again, and I believe an understanding of the self-conscious tradition in the novel which stands behind many contemporary novelists may help set that hazy issue in clearer perspective.

One of the newly prominent American novelists, John Barth, has himself given a new twist to the death-of-the-novel argument in a widely read essay first published in"The Literature of Exhaustion.

The "exhaustion" of the title is defined as "the used-upness of certain forms or exhaustion of certain possibilities," and the work of Borges is taken to be the clearest model of this contemporary literature of exhaustion. The Argentine writer "suggests the view," according to Barth, "that intellectual and literary history.

His ficciones are not only footnotes to imaginary texts, but postscripts to the real corpus of literature. Now, two paragraphs are not much space to get out of such a quandary, so Barth resorts to a kind of literary intervention of divine grace: This strikes me as a peculiarly elitist and miraculist notion of literary continuity and renewal.

What is postmodernism essay example

Good writing has of course always required gifted writers. Now, however, Barth seems to be saying, we have come to such a pass that it is virtually impossible to write anything at all.Logically, postmodernism literally refer to the “era” or “developments after modernity”.

It indeed refers to the actual dissolution or termination of the social forms that are linked to modernity (Sarup p. ).

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saw the entry of the term postmodernism in the philosophical lexicon. Postmodernism and Film Essay. This chapter will demonstrate the ways in which Jean Baudrillard’s and Fredric Jameson’s accounts of the postmodern have had a significant impact on the field of film studies, affecting both film theory and history - Postmodernism and Film Essay introduction.

The most influential aspects of each theorist’s work are outlined in the first two sections. The Transition to Postmodernism - The Transition to Postmodernism Works Cited Not Included Postmodernism is a difficult term to define, as it is evident in many different disciplines, such as art, literature, architecture, technology, and, the precise emerging moment of .

Jul 20,  · Postmodernism Essay Postmodernism cannot be historically pinned to any specific year, however, its ideas crystallized around the mid’s. The concepts of postmodernism affected many disciplines including art, education, literature, film, sociology, and technology.

Postmodernism is hard to define, because it is a concept that appears in a wide variety of disciplines or areas of study, including art, architecture, music, film, literature, sociology, communications, fashion, and .

One example of this kind of philosophy is postmodern philosophy, which would be the main focus of this paper. We will write a custom essay sample on Postmodernism Philosophy specifically for you.

What is postmodernism essay example
Postmodernism in Literature - Sample Essays