What Is Postmodern Literature?

PostModernism In Literature: A literary trend known as postmodernism favors play, fragmentation, metafiction, and intertextuality over definitive meaning. In response to modernist literature’s search for significance in light of the severe human rights crimes of World War II, the literary movement gained prominence in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller are a few well-known works of postmodern literature. Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Jorge Luis Borges, Fredric Jameson, Michel Foucault, and Jean-François Lyotard are a few literary theorists that helped to define postmodernism in literature.

What Are the Origins of Postmodern Literature?

Early examples of postmodern literature include James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, and Virginia Woolf. Modernist (or modern) literature, which predates postmodern literature, stressed the search for meaning by portraying the author as an enlightenment-style architect of order and lamenting the chaotic universe.
However, following a number of human rights abuses that took place during and after World War II (such as the Holocaust, the atomic bombing of Japan, and the internment of Japanese people in the US), writers started to believe that finding meaning was impossible and that the only way to move on was to fully embrace meaninglessness.
Many of the tenets of modernism were thus rejected (or expanded upon) by postmodern literature, which also shunned meaning, intensified and celebrated disorder and fragmentation, and started a significant shift in literary tradition.

5 Characteristics of Postmodern Literature

The following tenets serve as the foundation for postmodern literature:
1. Acceptance of chance. Postmodern art embraces disorder and unpredictability rather than the idea of absolute meaning. In order to further muddy the waters with high subjectivity and hinder readers from deriving meaning from the plot, postmodern novels frequently use unreliable narrators.
2. Simplicity. While modernist authors lamented the absence of structure, postmodern authors celebrate it, frequently using devices like dark humor, wordplay, irony, and other fun strategies to confuse readers and obfuscate the plot.

3. Fragmentation:  The fragmentation of modernism was built upon by postmodernist literature, which shifted literary works further toward collage-style structures, chronological distortion, and substantial character and location leaps.
4. Metafiction: Play and meaninglessness were stressed in postmodern literature. In order to highlight the artifice of their writing and serve as a constant reminder to readers that the author is not an authority figure, postmodern authors started experimenting with additional meta elements in their novels and short stories.
5. Intertextuality: Many postmodern authors used open conversation with other texts to create collage-style writing in their works. They used pastiche, which is the imitation of other authors’ styles, and a mix of high and low culture (writing that tackles subjects that were previously considered inappropriate for literature).

What are the features of postmodern literature?

Paradox, unreliable narrators, unrealistic tales, parody, and black humor are significant postmodern literary devices. A single subject or meaning is likewise rejected by the majority of postmodern literature, which instead opts for several meanings or does not include a topic at all.

What is postmodernism in literature essay?

A reliance on literary devices like fragmentation, contradiction, unreliable narrators, frequently implausible storylines, games, parody, paranoia, dark humor, and authorial self-reference characterize postmodern literature both stylistically and ideologically.

What are some examples of postmodernism?

Postmodern films frequently mix genres or tamper with the structure of a story in an effort to undermine deeply held preconceptions. For instance, Pulp Fiction is a postmodern movie due to the unconventional ways in which it presents its tale and how it challenges our notions of how movies should be structured.

What is the main focus of postmodernism?

Postmodernism is a philosophy that disagrees with the ideas of reason, objectivity, and absolute truth. Instead, it places a focus on the variety of perspectives and the human experience.

What is the concept of postmodernism?

The intellectual viewpoint or discourse known as postmodernism is characterized by skepticism of what it sees as the core ideologies of modernism, skepticism about the potential of ideology to transform social structures, and antagonism to epistemic certainty and the constancy of meaning.

Who is the father of postmodernism?

Charles Olson is the founder of the “postmodernists” of the second half of the 20th century, connecting Pound and company to significant poets like Robert Duncan and Robert Creeley. Pound and company were the great American modernist poets of the first decades of the century, along with Pound, Eliot, and Williams.

When did postmodern literature start?

Introduction. First and foremost, the phrases “postmodern” and “postmodernism” referred to novel developments in the arts, literature, and architecture that began in the 1950s and early 1960s, gathered speed throughout the 1960s, and took center stage in the 1970s.

How do you identify postmodernism?

Many characteristics of modernism are also present in postmodernism. The strict distinctions between high and low art are rejected by both schools. Even further, postmodernism willfully combines one genre with another, the past with the present, and bad art with high art.

How did postmodernism affect literature?

Pastiche refers to the process of combining or “pasting” together several pieces, which is related to postmodern intertextuality. Many postmodern authors blended, or “pasted,” aspects of earlier genres and styles of literature to create a new narrative voice or to critique the writing of their contemporaries in postmodernist literature.

What is the impact of postmodernism?

The young adult’s role-playing and interactions within all of his various social systems are impacted by postmodernism since it alters perspectives and lifestyles. The relevance of responsibilities as sons or daughters as well as a strong attachment to family and home were discovered.

Why is postmodernism hard to define?

Since postmodernism is a notion that can be found in so many different fields of study and disciplines, such as art, architecture, music, film, literature, sociology, communications, fashion, and technology, it is difficult to define.

Who coined postmodernism literature?

The historian Arnold Toynbee actually created the phrase “postmodern” in the 1940s.

What are the limitations of postmodernism?

Postmodernism has problems from the start (as do all aesthetic theories.) One issue is that ideas of “high and low” culture (and music) are not particularly illuminating. They are ambiguous, cause uncertainty, and unnecessarily stir up ideological conflict.


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