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 restricting 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

PART II
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 background 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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But I want to argue that it is precisely parody—that seemingly introverted formalism—that paradoxically brings about a direct confrontation with the problem of the relation of the aesthetic to a world of significance external to itself, to a discursive world of socially defined meaning systems (past and present)—in other words, to the political and the historical. My focus in this chapter will be on what I think offers the best model for a poetics of postmodernism: postmodern architecture, the one art form in which the label seems to refer, uncontested, to a generally agreed upon corpus of works.

This does not, however, undermine the positive potential value of postmodernist architecture as a whole and its salutary and necessary critique of some of the “unexamined cant” of modernism (Hubbard 1980, 8). A young Toronto architect, Bruce Kuwabara (1987), recently pointed to the importance of the postmodern breaking up of modernist dogma and its reconsideration of the urban heritage of the city. Another architect, Eberhardt Zeidler (1987), has compared this postmodern shattering of the doxa to that of mannerism’s challenge to the classical order of architecture.

In the past, of course, history has often been used in novel criticism, though usually as a model of the realistic pole of representation. Postmodern fiction problematizes this model to query the relation of both history to reality and reality to language. In Lionel Gossman’s terms: Modern history and modern literature [I would say postmodern in both cases] have both rejected the ideal of representation that dominated them for so long. Both now conceive of their work as exploration, testing, creation of new meanings, 16 A Poetics of Postmodernism rather than as disclosure or revelation of meanings already in some sense “there,” but not immediately perceptible.

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