S. Johnson’s 1969 novel The Unfortunates; it was released in a box with no binding so that readers could assemble it however they chose. The styles and ideologies of postmodern literature have had a tremendous influence on contemporary literature, visual art, film, science, history and journalism. The styles and techniques of postmodern authors has had a tremendous influence on popular culture all over the world. All of these storytelling devices were first used by postmodern literary writers and were adopted by film and television makers. Writers eschew, often playfully, the possibility of meaning, and the postmodern novel is often a parody of this. Marked by a distrust of totalizing mechanisms and self-awareness, postmodern writers often celebrate chance over craft and employ metafiction to undermine the author’s “univocation”.
Economides illuminates important differences between these aesthetics, particularly their negotiation of issues relevant to gender-based and environmental politics. In turn, readers can utilize the concept of wonder as an open-ended, non-violent framework in contrast to the ethos of domination that often surrounds the sublime. No doubt the logic of the simulacrum, with its transformation of older realities into television images, does more than merely replicate the logic of late capitalism; it reinforces and intensifies it.
Postmodern philosophy tends to renounce the possibility of ‘grand narratives’ and, instead, argues that all belief systems and ideologies are developed for the express purpose of controlling others and maintaining particular political and social systems. The postmodern philosophical perspective is pretty cynical and takes nothing that is presented at face value or as being legitimate. Just as we have lost touch with the reality of our life, we have also moved away from the reality of the goods we consume. If the media form one driving force of the Postmodern condition, multinational capitalism and globalization is another.
But there are a bunch of features that often crop up in postmodern texts and give us an idea of what sort of criteria we’re looking at. We’ll get into the essentials later, but one of the major ideas behind postmodernism is that everything has already been done—every story has been told, and it’s impossible to be 100% original anymore. Electric Literature is a 501 non-profit organization founded in 2009.
Even the title is an ironic play on the game of cat’s cradle, which involves twisting string to create a crisscross figure. We could see the finished product as making up a pattern, but one of the characters declares that there’s “no damn cat, and no damn cradle.” In other words, there’s no big meaning or absolute truth out there. Postmodern authorstend to reject outright meanings in their novels, stories and poems, and, instead, highlight and celebrate the possibility of multiple meanings, or a complete lack of meaning, within a single literary work. We all know how literary theories and movements sometimes have their fair share of fancy lingo. For a fun spoof of this experience, head over to Communication from Elsewhere’s Postmodern Essay Generator. Every time you visit this page you’ll be greeted with a randomly-generated, fake essay that’s full of “pomo” names and terms.
Decidedly serious literary works now make use of genres long thought to belong only to popular work. A related phenomenon is the development of numerous hybrid genres that erode the distinctions, for instance, between literature and journalism, literature and biography, and literature and history. Below is our list of the 61 essential reads of postmodern literature.