A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction by Linda Hutcheon

By Linda Hutcheon

Half I
1 Theorizing the postmodern: towards a poetics
2 Modelling the postmodern: parody and politics
3 proscribing the postmodern: the paradoxical aftermath of modernism
4 Decentering the postmodern: the ex-centric
5 Contextualizing the postmodern: enunciation and the revenge of “parole”
6 Historicizing the postmodern: the problematizing of history

7 Historiographic metafiction: “the hobby of prior time”
8 Intertextuality, parody, and the discourses of history
9 the matter of reference
10 topic in/of/to heritage and his story
11 Discourse, strength, ideology: humanism and postmodernism
12 Political double-talk
13 end: a poetics or a problematics?

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Extra resources for A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction

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As an architect working in Rome, Portoghesi cannot avoid direct confrontation with the layers of history in his city and with the example of the baroque architects before him. History is not, however, a repository of models: he is not interested in copying or in straight revivalism. Like all the postmodernists (and this is the reason for the label) he knows he cannot totally reject modernism, especially its material and technological advances, but he wants to integrate with these positive aspects of the immediate past the equally positive aspects of the more remote and repressed history of forms.

For example can the historical and discursive contextualizing of Doctorow’s Ragtime really be considered dehistoricized and devoid of historical memory? It may alter received historical opinion but it does not evade the notions of historicity or historical determination (see Chapter 6). Is the highly individualized and problematic voice of Saleem Sinai in Midnight’s Children really to be dubbed “depthless” and “without style”? Is that novel (or are Coover’s The Public Burning or Doctorow’s The Book of Daniel) to be seriously labelled as empty of political content?

He continues. And I would again ask: in Findley’s Famous Last Words, does the obvious “performativity” of the text really “replace truth” (Eagleton 1985, 63) or does it, rather, question whose notion of truth gains power and authority over others and then examine the process of how it does so? The Brechtian involvement of the reader—both textualized (Quinn) and extratextual (us)—is something Eagleton appears to approve of in the modernist “revolutionary” avant-garde. But it is also a very postmodern strategy, and here leads to the acknowledgement, not of truth, but of truths in the plural, truths that are socially, ideologically, and historically Theorizing the Postmodern 19 conditioned (see Chapter 12).

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