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Title: The postmodern aesthetic in literary art
Authors: Lim, Keith Jeong Yin
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: The relationship between postmodernism, art and literature is exceedingly complex. The consideration of a “postmodern aesthetic” is problematic on multiple fronts. The theoretical quagmire postmodern theorists have created for themselves since the term was first popularized has become arguably irresolvable; the contradictions between competing theories make it impossible for there to be a single, elegant conception of the idea. The contradictions that accompany these terms do not end here. Art’s autonomy from reality flies in the face of language’s inescapable referentiality. Art and literature may certainly be viewed interchangeably but literature’s distinctive semantic quality sees it engage in an artistic endeavor unique from other art forms. It is in the midst of this vortex of contradiction that this paper emerges. It explores the relationship between postmodernism, literature, and art, arguing that the aesthetic qualities of a literary work should not be ignored even if the discussion is theoretically premised. Scrutinizing Samuel Beckett’s trilogy of novels, Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable, this paper examines the complex and multidirectional relationship shared between postmodernism and literature. Beckett’s trilogy, which is commonly seen as a seminal postmodern text, is laden with artistic finesse. Postmodernism, on the one hand, appears to stimulate extreme literary innovations in a text, engendering the creative conditions suitable for the production of a wide range of aesthetic effects – but literature as a form of art inevitably transcends the limited boundaries of philosophical discussion.
Schools: School of Humanities and Social Sciences 
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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