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Title: Coping with the postmodern paradox.
Authors: Tsang, Donald Tsz Lok.
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities
Issue Date: 2013
Abstract: Examining various postmodernisms – from the textual postmodernisms of Samuel Beckett, Vladimir Nabokov, Italo Calvino, John Banville, Don DeLillo, and Kurt Vonnegut, and the theoretical postmodernisms of Jean-Francois Lyotard, John Barth, Ihab Hassan, Brian McHale, and Linda Hutcheon – this paper seeks to evaluate the validity of the various constructions of postmodernism so far, differentiating the now-canonical definitions of the postmodernist movement in the 1960s and 1970s from the rest. This paper posits that there are many postmodernisms, of which the high postmodernist branch, in its absolutist reaction to deny possibilities of meaning, may not necessarily prove to be the most postmodern when judged against the “incredulity towards metanarratives” quality it itself asserts as postmodernist. Contrary to the high postmodernist focus on metafictionality and anti-form, this paper further seeks to demonstrate postmodernism’s tendency towards an open skepticism, which allows possibilities of meaning, representations of reality, and politics to be re-inserted into fiction, no more or less valid than the metafictional impulse. This paper thus examines the closed cycle of silence in Beckett’s Trilogy, Waiting for Godot, and Endgame, before studying Banville’s adjustments in postmodernist writing from Birchwood to The Sea. This paper ends with a reading of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five that focuses on its re-insertion of the possibility of representations of reality and meaning in postmodernist fiction. Such a postmodernism that is continually evolving and becoming tends towards the complete relativism that Lyotard and Beckett aspired to, and may be termed as post-postmodernism in its relation – both successive of and reactive against – to high postmodernism.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:HSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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