Notes on the late twentieth century british novel

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categorie: Engleza

nota: 10.00

nivel: Liceu

Not only has this question been asked so frequently that its reiteration today makes any sensible reader or writer shrug and continue to read/write novels, but it has also become quite obvious that the novel is not going anywhere in particular, that it has chosen to dwell in the same old spheres of human interest and to stay faithful to its old allegiances.

The postmodernist poetic[...]
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Not only has this question been asked so frequently that its reiteration today makes any sensible reader or writer shrug and continue to read/write novels, but it has also become quite obvious that the novel is not going anywhere in particular, that it has chosen to dwell in the same old spheres of human interest and to stay faithful to its old allegiances.

The postmodernist poetics of the novel, to the extent that it exists, has had a considerable contribution to the coming back in force of fiction, having countered many of the potentially destructive aesthetic tenets of high modernism, among which its banishment of traditional literary conventions, its elitist stance, its propensity towards high-blown experimentalism. Linda Hutcheon shows that postmodernism does not oust modernism completely, that "the modern is ineluctably embedded in the postmodern, but the relation is a complex one, of consequence, difference and dependence."

Postmodernism has been tolerant, democratic and ironic and, rather than operate a clean break with tradition - as the spirit of high modernism required -, it has been concerned with salvaging anything that can be re-used from that tradition, and also from the tradition of modernism. Hence a new life even for realist fiction, placed, nonetheless, in a different, more relativised, context and perspective.
A really important issue to tackle here, when discussing the relationship of postmodernism to modernism, is that of the canon, more precisely that of the modifications that occurred inside the canon after the consolidation of postmodernism and of the constitution of the postmodernist canon itself.

The canon, Harold Bloom insists, "once we see it as the relation of an individual reader and writer to what has been preserved out of what has been written" (and not as a list of books for required study) is "the Literary Art of memory". It is the literay memory's way to preserve and transmit aesthetic value. In his influential book, Harold Bloom examines the Western canon in three epochs: the Aristocratic Age, the Democratic Age and the Chaotic Age, with some limited reference to the Theocratic Age, which precedes the Aristocratic.

Ours would be the Chaotic Age, which, however, contains not only postmodernism, but also modernism, in fact the entire 20th. century. It results that one can only discuss the canon profitably if one assigns a given canon a precise historical delineation, as differences are considerable from one century to another and sometimes, as in the case of modernism vs.
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