Fragmentation in Postmodern Novels

John Hawkes once divulged that when he began to write he assumed that “the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting and theme”. Certainly many subsequent authors have done their best to sledgehammer these four literary cornerstones into oblivion. Either plot is pounded into small slabs of event and circumstance, characters disintegrate into… Read More Fragmentation in Postmodern Novels

Looseness of Association in Postmodern Works

Many postmodernist writers disrupt the smooth production and reception of texts by welcoming chance into the compositional process. The infamous The Unfortunates (1969) by B. S.Johnson, for instance, is a novel-in-a-box which instructs the reader to riffle several loose-leaf chapters into any order. Only the first and last chapter are denominated, otherwise the sections can… Read More Looseness of Association in Postmodern Works

Modernism, Postmodernism and Film Criticism

Postmodern cinema ironically has a history now. In 1984, Fredric Jameson observed that contemporary culture seemed to be expressing a new form of ‘depthlessness‘ – a concentration on style and ‘surface’. For Jameson these features represented a retreat from the need to supply a univocal narrative closure to the postmodern text, predicated on the fragmentation… Read More Modernism, Postmodernism and Film Criticism

Chaos Theory, Complexity Theory and Literary Criticism

Chaos theory and complexity theory challenge some of our most deeply held beliefs about the nature of reality. The former claims that natural systems (for example, the weather) are controlled by mysterious forces, called ‘strange attractors‘, such that they are simultaneously random and determined -a conclusion which undermines the laws of logic on which so… Read More Chaos Theory, Complexity Theory and Literary Criticism

Key Theories of Jean Francois Lyotard

A French philosopher of the post-structuralist school, Jean Francois Lyotard (1925-1998) is perhaps best known for his book The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979). In that work, Lyotard attempted to define the principle aspects of postmodernity in the wake of developing technology. Technology transforms knowledge: We can predict that anything in the constituted body… Read More Key Theories of Jean Francois Lyotard

Fredric Jameson as a Neo-Marxist Critic

Fredric Jameson outlined a dialectic theory of literary criticism in his Marxism and Form (1971), drawing on Hegelian categories such as the notion of totality and the connections of abstract and concrete. Such criticism recognises the need to see its objects of analysis within a broad historical context, acknowledges its own history and perspective, and… Read More Fredric Jameson as a Neo-Marxist Critic