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Postmodernism: Literary Information

Historical Backgrounds (See timeline)

  • Post WWII – Present
    • War & Military Action
    • Political Actions of Interest
    • Invention, Science and Commerical Production

Writers & Concepts of Interest

  • Derrida
    • Structurality of Structure (1966) and centered systems
      • God
      • Mind/subconscious
    • Deconstruction
  • Baudrillard
    • Simulacra and Simulation
    • Hyperreality


  • Value in all structures, including literature and art
  • Constructed Value/Meaning
    • Distinction between the modern (essential) conception and postmodern (superficial)–Boots/shoes!
  • Reality and Virtual Reality

What it Looks like in Practice (Elements of…)

Shares with modernism:

  1. Complexity
  2. Fragmentation
  3. Focus on the “other” (post-colonial)
Breaks from modernism
  1. Literature of surfaces (constructed meaning rather than inherent)
  2. Pop culture references, rather than the kind of intertextuality seen in the modern  (leveling of value–what is great art?)
  3. Heavy focus on the blending of genres (again, a result of questioning value in “high art”)
  4. Heavy focus on the blending of fiction and reality (rise of the computer; simulation; reality television)
Other Distinctions (to help you conceptualize some of the different approches):
  • Visual
    • Man with a Pipe vs. Bodyworlds; Piss Christ; Warhol
  •  Auditory
    • Jazz vs. Hip-hop; sampling
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