Postmodern Literature

We often hear that in literature process the period from second part of the 20th century and up to nowadays is called postmodernism. But what exactly does it mean? These are the main (but not all) traits of these books:

✔ Irony and playfullness – one of the most important traits – you can be fooled and you need to be very attentive, it’s common for postmodernists to treat serious subjects in a playful and humorous way. Silly wordplay, within a serious context is very common.

✔ Intertextuality – postmodernism accumilated the experience of the past and now writers, creating undoubtedly unique works, always refer to the great works of the past and try to interprete them in a new sense. Reading such a novel is a test of your erudition as very often you have to guess what different allusions mean.

✔ Pastiche. It means to combine, or “paste” together, multiple elements. Postmodernist literature this can be an 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.For example, William S. Burroughs uses science fiction, detective fiction, westerns; Margaret Atwood uses science fiction and fairy tales.

✔ Metafiction. It is essentially writing about writing. One of the most popular topics for workd of fiction in 20th and 21st centuries. Who is writer? What’s he actually doing? What is creativity and talent? How the text is created?

✔ Temporal distortion. The events are not necessarily presented in the order in which they took place.

✔ Paranoia. Perhaps demonstrated most famously and effectively in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, the sense of paranoia, the belief that there’s an ordering system behind the chaos of the world is another recurring postmodern theme.

In our library collection we have several novels that are often refered to as postmodernistic.


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