From Modernism to Postmodernism

Concepts and Strategies of Postmodern American Fiction

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This systemic study discusses in its historical, cultural and aesthetic context the postmodern American novel between the years of 1960 and 1980. A general overview of the various definitions of postmodernism in philosophy, cultural theory and aesthetics provides the framework for the inquiry into more specific problems, such as: the broadening of aesthetics, the relationship between aesthetics and ethics, the transformation of the artistic tradition, the interdependence between modernism and postmodernism, and the change in the aesthetics of fiction. Other topics addressed here include: situationalism, montage, the ordinary and the fantastic, the subject and the character, the imagination, comic modes, and the future of the postmodern strategies. The authors whose fiction is treated in some detail under the various aspects thematized are John Barth, Donald Barthelme, Richard Brautigan, Robert Coover, Stanley Elkin, Raymond Federman, William Gaddis, John Hawkes, Jerzy Kosinski, Thomas Pynchon, Ishmael Reed, Ronald Sukenick, and Kurt Vonnegut.
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Review Quotes

"Unlike the post-postmodern novels that 'are able to satisfy quite different expectations and needs' |655], this study could only appeal to the highly literate reader, the student or the scholar. A very rich bibliography accompanies the book. Hoffmann’s intimations of postmodern American fiction constitute a valuable contribution to the growing literature of postmodernism." – Aristie Trendel, in: Cercles: Revue pluridisciplinaire du monde anglophone [ Full review]

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Methods of Approach
2. Postmodern Culture, Aesthetics, and the Arts
3. Situationalism
4. Philosophy and Postmodern American Fiction: Patterns of Disjunction, Complementarity and Mutual Subversion
5. The Fantastic
6. The Space-Time Continuum
7. Character
8. The Imagination
9. The Perspectives of Negation: The Satiric, the Grotesque, the Monstrous, Farce and Their Attenuation by Play, Irony, and the Comic Mode
10. The Novel After Postmodernism
Notes
Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Index

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