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Modernism & Postmodernism

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Thirii Myint

on 27 January 2015

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Transcript of Modernism & Postmodernism

Donald Barthelme
A brief introduction
Modernism & Postmodernism
late 19th cen. - mid 20th cen.
Virginia Woolf
Postmodernism as Liberty Valance: Notes on an Execution
by Jonathan Lethem, pub. The Believer, Oct. 2011
"Let’s wade into the unpleasantness around the term postmodernism:
nobody agrees on its definition,
but in literary conversations the word is often used as
finger-pointing to a really vast number of things that might be seen as threatening to canonical culture
author-killing theories
generated by French critics;
collapsing of high and low cultural
preserves into a value-neutral fog;
excessive reference
to various other media and/or mediums, especially electronic ones [...]; an enthusiasm for
(a word that ought to be reserved for a specific thing that starts with Cervantes, but isn’t), for
, for
pop-culture references
or generic forms, for
overt (as opposed to politely passive) “intertextuality,”
unreliable narration
, for
surrealism or magical realism or hysterical realism
or some other brandof“opposed-to-realism” affiliation, for
[...], etc., etc., etc."
“the change of emphasis
from the what to the how
seems to me to be the major impulse in art since Flaubert, and it’s not merely formalism, it’s not at all superficial, it’s an attempt to reach truth, and a very rigorous one.”

Interview with the Paris Review, 1981.
Writing Exercise
"While the present century was in its teens, and on one sunshiny morning in June, there drove up to the great iron gate of Miss Pinkerton’s academy for young ladies, on Chiswick Mall, a large family coach, with two fat horses in blazing harness, driven by a fat coachman in a three-cornered hat and wig, at the rate of four miles an hour. A black servant, who reposed on the box beside the fat coachman, uncurled his bandy legs as soon as the equipage drew up opposite Miss Pinkerton’s shining brass plate, and as he pulled the bell at least a score of young heads were seen peering out of the narrow windows of the stately old brick house. Nay, the acute observer might have recognized the little red nose of good-natured Miss Jemima Pinkerton herself, rising over some geranium pots in the window of that lady’s own drawing-room."
Opening paragraph of William Thackeray's
Vanity Fair
, 1848.
Full transcript