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					Postmodernism
When
Did Postmodern Age Begin?

   Unclear exactly when
    postmodernism begins
   Emerged as an area of
    academic study since
    the mid-1980s.
What Is Postmodernism?

   Applies not ONLY to literature
   Wide variety of disciplines
    –   art,
    –   architecture,
    –   music,
    –   film,
    –   literature,
    –   sociology,
    –   communications,
    –   fashion, and
    –   technology
Need to Understand Modernism to
Understand Postmodernism

   Related to twentieth
    century Western ideas
    about art movement in
    visual arts, music,
    literature, and drama
   Rejected Victorian
    standards of how art
    should be made,
    consumed, and what it
    should mean.
Modernist Literature

   High modernism from
    around 1910 to 1930
   Major figures of modernism
    literature helped redefine
    what poetry and fiction
    could be and do:
   Woolf, Joyce, Eliot, Pound,
    Stevens, Proust, Kafka
    considered the founders of
    twentieth-century
    modernism.
Characteristics of Modernism

   Emphasizes
    –   Impressionism and
        subjectivity in writing
    –   WAY in which
        perception takes
        place instead of
        WHAT is perceived.
        Example: stream-of-
        consciousness
        writing.
Characteristics of Modernism

   movement away from past
    –   apparent objectivity provided by
        omniscient third-person narrators,
    –   fixed narrative points of view, and
    –   clear-cut moral positions.
    –   Faulkner's multiply-narrated stories
        are an example of this aspect of
        modernism.


   blurs distinctions between
    genres
    –   poetry seems more documentary (as
        in T.S. Eliot) and
    –   prose seems more poetic (as in
        Woolf or Joyce).
Characteristics of Modernism

   fragmented forms
    –   discontinuous narratives, and
    –   random-seeming collages of
        different materials.
   self-consciousness
    (reflexivity)
    –   about the production of the work of
        art
   work calls attention to its
    own status as a production,
    –   as something constructed and
        consumed in particular ways.
Characteristics of Modernism

   Rejects
    –   elaborate formal aesthetics in
        favor of minimalist designs
        (as in the poetry of William
        Carlos Williams)
    –   formal aesthetic theories and
        favors spontaneity and
        discovery in creation
    –   distinction between "high"
        and "low" or popular culture
        in art
Then, What’s Postmodernism?

   Similar to modernism
    –   Rejects boundaries
        between high and low
        forms of art
    –   Rejects rigid genre
        distinctions
    –   Emphasizes pastiche,
        parody, bricollage,
        irony, and playfulness.
Characteristics of
Postmodernism

   Postmodernism favors
    –   Reflexivity and self-
        consciousness
    –   Fragmentation and
        discontinuity (especially
        in narrative structures as
        in Autumn of the
        Patriarch)
    –   Ambiguity, simultaneity,
        and an emphasis on the
        de-structured, de-
        centered, de-humanized
        subject.
Characteristics of Postmodernism

   Differs from modernism in its
    attitude is toward trends is different.
   Modernism sees fragmentation as
    something tragic (as in The Waste
    Land)
   Modernists cling to the belief that
    works of art can provide the unity,
    coherence, and meaning which has
    been lost in most of modern life;
   Art will do what other human
    institutions fail to do.
    Modernism                vs.       Postmodernism

   Laments fragmentation as          Celebrates fragmentation,
    something tragic (as in The        provisionality, and
    Waste Land)                        incoherence
   Works of art can provide          Works of art can’t provide
    the unity, coherence, and          meaning to meaningless
    meaning which has been             world.
    lost in most of modern life;      Art can’t do what human
   Art will do what other human       institutions fail to do, so let's
    institutions fail to do.           just play with nonsense.
   Learn things to know them;        Learn things to use them;
    knowledge as                       knowledge as utilitarian
    enlightenment                     Questions”grand narratives”
                                       like religious beliefs
Q. How Did Realism Morph Into Modernism?
Q. How Did Modernism Morph Into Postmodernism?
A. CAPITALISM!

   Frederic Jameson:
   modernism and postmodernism are
    cultural formations which accompany
    particular stages of capitalism.
    –   market capitalism sparked by the steam-
        driven motor, and with a particular kind of
        aesthetics, namely gave rise to REALISM.
    –   Monopoly capitalism late nineteenth
        century until the mid-twentieth century
        (about WWII); electric and internal
        combustion motors
    –   Multinational/ consumer capitalism
        (emphasis placed on marketing, selling, and
        consuming commodities, not on producing
        them), associated with nuclear and
        electronic technologies, and correlated with
        postmodernism
Hallmarks of
Postmodernism

   Concerned with questions
    of the organization of
    knowledge
   In postmodern societies,
    anything which cannot be
    translated into a form
    recognizable and storable
    by a computer, anything
    that is not digitizable will
    cease to be knowledge.
Applying Postmodern Ideology

   Postmodern politics offer a
    way to theorize local
    situations as fluid and
    unpredictable, though
    influenced by global trends.
   “Think globally, act locally” –
    and don’t worry about a
    grand scheme or master
    plan?
Reacting to
Postmodernism

   Rise of religious
    fundamentalism as a
    form of resistance to the
    questioning of the “grand
    narratives” of religious
    truth.
   Salman Rushdie knows
    all about what happens
    when one questions a
    “grand narrative”
Modernism/Postmodernism Quiz

1.   To what was Modernism a reaction? BP
2.   List and briefly explain three (3) characteristics of Modernism. BP
3.   Give an example of one artist – in any discipline - attributed to the
     Modernist movement including the way in which that artist
     exemplified Modernism. SF
4.   List and briefly explain three (3) characteristics of Postmodernism.
     BP
5.   Provide a brief description of Jameson’s theory for the evolution of
     Modernism and Postmodernism. SF
6.   What technological advancement can be directly associated with the
     rise of Postmodernism? Why? SF


             BP = Bullet Point         SF = Sentence Format
Modernism/Postmodernism Quiz
1.        To what was Modernism a reaction?
     1.         To Victorian ideas that art should be made and consumed and what art should mean
2.        List and briefly explain three (3) characteristics of Modernism.
     1.         Laments fragmentation
     2.         Works of art can give meaning to human existence
     3.         Knowledge as enlightenment
3.        Give an example of one artist – in any discipline - attributed to the Modernist movement including the way in
          which that artist exemplified Modernism.
4.        List and briefly explain three (3) characteristics of Postmodernism.
     1.         Celebrates fragmentation
     2.         Works of art can’t provide meaning to a meaningless world
     3.         Knowledge as utilitarian construct
5.        Provide a brief description of Jameson’s theory for the evolution of Modernism and Postmodernism.
     1.         The phases of capitalism since the Industrial Revolution have been the impetus for the development of Realism,
                Modernism, and PostModernism
6.        What technological advancement can be directly associated with the rise of Postmodernism? Why?
     1.         The computer can be associated directly with the rise of Postmodernism because of the idea that knowledge must be
                stored in a digitizable form to conform to the Postmodernist idea of knowledge as a utilitarian construct.

				
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posted:10/28/2011
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