Postmodernism literature essays

I wonder about the post-modernists, if they have the problem that I have, if access to certain feelings was difficult, like they were always reaching for it. I read Pynchon, Delillo, and everyone talks the same. One day, Hannah and I are walking together through the mall.

To me, reading Infinite Jest feels like watching gold medal gymnasts, the words flying around, dancing across the page. It leaves me frenzied, breathless. The plot is scattered, broken, forcing me to pay close attention to each detail, to put everything together on my own. Each character gets their own section of the novel to shine, to have their story told.


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Some are funny, almost silly. Some are heartbreaking. When I read D. I have unfinished novels, a dozen of them. I have separate documents on my computer with timelines so that I can keep time jumps and character arcs straight. I want the books I write to be everything that I am, include all the parts that make up me. I see that this is what Infinite Jest is, or at least what it tries to do. It may have had pretentious intent, the idea that you can write a book and just put everything in it.

I worry about having children. I worry about not understanding their needs. I worry about failing them. I worry about not having time to read, time to write. The first band I like is Fleetwood Mac. I want to abandon my interests, trade them in to be more like my classmates. Amerika was one of the first celebrated Internet artists, and among the first to create ambitious, digitally-hyperlinked works of narrative for the Web see, for example, Grammatron. Olsen, a writer primarily working in print, collaborated with graphic artist Tim Guthrie to produce a Web-based multi-linear digital fiction in The collection also featured Michael Joyce, widely-recognized as one of the trailblazers in the field of literary hypertext and creative media.

Postmodernism in Literature

At the same time, Joyce's place in the collection pointed to the inherent incongruity of their framing of Avant-Pop, which claimed everything from Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five to Joyce's hypertext fiction afternoon in its list of representative works. But as Joyce's own critical writing demonstrates, a digital fiction cannot be Avant-Pop by virtue of its medium, much in the same way that it cannot be postmodernist for the same reason see Othermindedness Nonetheless, Olsen and Amerika made a significant gesture toward a mature recognition and reconciliation of postmodernism's media environment.

There are indeed exceptions, from Frow's comprehensive survey of postmodernism's technological complexion to Bradbury's nuanced engagement with media's transformative impact on contemporary fiction to Olsen and Amerika's direct appeal to Web culture in clearing space for a new kind of avant-garde. Nevertheless, when technology is admitted into critical-historical conceptions of postmodernism, it is often in terms of either a mass media or a popular culture vernacular.

If only for historical pre-Web reasons, the fixation on the mass of media in many foundational accounts leaves out too much of the story that has personalized, miniaturized, and networked our media; in addition, the association of media technologies with popular culture elides the artistic and literary potential of digital environments.

As I have suggested elsewhere, the logic that has digital culture leaving postmodernism behind might be further justified in terms of subjectivity—that is, how we see ourselves in light of digital technology and its discourse. Contrary to prevailing notions of the postmodernist self as an emptying out, or an always already discursive and multiple construction, it is arguably a form of surplus selfhood that takes hold in digital culture.

If postmodernism's subjectivity is constructed foremost in and in relation to language, then the digital self—in this age of the "selfie"—is constructed foremost in and in relation to the machine, which rushes to over fill the spaces of the network, and there proliferates. Thus, if finding a satisfying sense of self amid the forces of fragmentation is a uniquely postmodernist predicament, then attempting to lose it might be more aptly a digital one, from innumerable search engine hits that locate us in nanoseconds, to the unknown and unknowable number of databases in which our personal details appear, to our ubiquitous profiles cutting across time and space on social networking software du jour.

In any case, with all of the conspicuous reconfigurations of human bodies and minds in light of machines, any model of selfhood we embrace in the digital age would have to account for the unprecedented ability to control, configure, and distribute—indeed, self-publish—our own modes and models of subjectivity. That said, allowing digital culture to define what comes next creates an inevitable problem of periodization. In tracking the movement from modernism to postmodernism, for example, McHale put forth the influential idea of a shifting "cultural dominant," persuasively aligning epistemological concerns with modernist cultural outputs and ontological concerns with postmodernist ones "What Was Postmodernism?

But we can emphasize the fact that his distinction is anchored in what is essentially a conceptual dominant Cambridge Introduction Can the digital medium be a cultural dominant? Can any medium be so? And can we make this move while still avoiding the technologically deterministic tenor reminiscent of Marshall McLuhan or Friedrich Kittler? Clearly, the exercise of asking what postmodernism is or was or even what replaced it is bound to generate a fractal multiplicity of more questions. Nonetheless, the contributors to the Otago symposium each set about responding to the task of constructing a critical commentary on the cultural and literary history of a phenomenon that has been present in some shape or form for all of our lives as scholars in the field.

Their essays range from regional to global contexts, across literary form and medium, and across literary-historical periods. The first essay, by keynote speaker Simon During, takes on the regionalizing project directly, in asking: what was postmodernism in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australasia? In " The Historical Status of Postmodernism under Neoliberalism," During begins by acknowledging his own past involvement in forging the critical discourse on postmodernism and postcolonial theory.

That history, however and admirably so , does not prevent him from revisiting and reevaluating earlier positions hammered out in well-known publications in past decades see "Postmodernism and Postcolonialism" —that he now understands to be incompatible with a need to situate postmodernism amid an epoch of neoliberalism. With the requisite qualifications of treating postmodernism, in the first place, as "as an event of aesthetic and historical substance," During concludes with reference to Eleanor Catton's award-winning The Luminaries , a recent New Zealand novel that reveals the imbrication of postmodernism and neoliberalism through a literary prism.

Essay on Postmodernism | Bartleby

Jacob Edmond, in "The Uses of Postmodernism," historicizes in a more globalizing manner. In a tour de force of comparative cultural analysis, he negotiates the politics of periodization before assaying the ways in which postmodernism has served cultural and intellectual movements in the United States, New Zealand, China, and Russia. Her essay offers a detailed and convincing contextualization of a writer commonly regarded to be postmodern in a historically pivotal sense, and she rightfully warns that "even in the non-synchronous world of postmodern history, we must be careful not to read history backwards.


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Damien Gibson's essay considers what might lie beyond postmodernism, namely in the form of a critical posthumanism. In "From Master y Narratives to Matter Narratives: Jeanette Winterson's The Stone Gods ," his point of departure is the premise that despite the best efforts of postmodernism's incredulity toward master narratives, "the hundred-year-old master narrative of Humanism still needs to be contested. Meditations on Metamodernism as a Period Term and as a Mode. He recognizes that "while postmodernism and Baudrillard himself may be in the process of being historicized, its disappearance has left traces" that may inform the way we do research across a number of disciplines.

Indeed, Vallelly's essay opens the possibility that one of the least coherent and comprehensible of literary, artistic, and philosophical movements of the 20th century has left as its legacy an instructive methodology for contemporary critical inquiry. Brian McHale, the closing keynote at the event, also closes the present collection in the form of an Afterword with his own reflections on "What [in the World] was Postmodernism?

It was a good game. Amerika, Mark and Lance Olsen, eds. Barth, John.

Heide Ziegler, ed. Baudrillard, Jean.

Simulation and Simulacra. Sheila Glaser, trans. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, []. Bradbury, Malcolm. The Arts in and after the Cold War. Ciccoricco, David. McHale, Brian and Len Platt, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Clavier, Berndt. New York: Peter Lang, During, Simon. Federman, Raymond. Frow, John.

What is Postmodernism?

Oxford: Clarendon Press, Gaggi, Silvio. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, Gilder, George. Postmodernism Post-modernism follows and shares many of the same ideas as modernism. Though, at the same time, they differ in many ways. Modernism is a style of literature that came about after World War I in Europe. It emerged in the United States in the late s.

Related essays

Hannabuss, Stuart. The source explains in details all the characteristics of postmodernism. Hannabuss says that postmodernism is a unique representation of modern living par.

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