Contemporary Fiction and the Uses of Theory: The Novel from Structuralism to Postmodernism

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An example is the work of William S. Burrough, Naked Lunch. In this narrative, the writer explores the structure of the traditional narrative, and he also critiques the modern things. The modern things William S. Burroughs critiques include modern medicine, modern law enforcement and modern government in his work.

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Other narrative authors include authors such as John Fowles. Grand narratives are also resisted. An example of this is questioning the belief of many that the human race will improve through science.


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Metaphysics is also examined. Postmodern knowledge building is situated, local, and slippery and it is also self-critical. Self-critical in postmodern knowledge means that it questions itself and also questions its role. Post structural critics the even look in the contradiction between themselves in post-structural work since it is self-critical.


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It is the absolute authority displaced in a text. The reader interprets the text of the author and develops a meaning. Feeling Stuck on Your Essay? Barthes states that if the author dies, the Modernist idea of the authority singular narrative is overturned that is, the text in the narrative becomes plural, and there is a collaborative process between the audience and the author in the interpretation of the texts.

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It is shown in the illustration below:. It is necessary to overthrow the myth; the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author. The different forms of post-structuralism are shown as a split between modernism and postmodernism. In this, Ihab Hassan shows these differences in his work, The Dismemberment of Orpheus, and he clearly explains the following contrasts:. With this article you are now equipped with all that you need to know about postmodernism and deconstructionism. By clicking "Log In", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

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  7. Click to learn more. Hire Writer Top Rated Service. Delivery in as Little as 3hrs. Money-Back Guarantee. Your e-mail goes here. Your Password goes here. There are many types of literary theory, which take different approaches to texts. Even among those listed below, many scholars combine methods from more than one of these approaches for instance, the deconstructive approach of Paul de Man drew on a long tradition of close reading pioneered by the New Critics , and de Man was trained in the European hermeneutic tradition.

    Broad schools of theory that have historically been important include historical and biographical criticism , New Criticism , formalism , Russian formalism , and structuralism , post-structuralism , Marxism , feminism and French feminism , post-colonialism , new historicism , deconstruction , reader-response criticism , and psychoanalytic criticism.

    The different interpretive and epistemological perspectives of different schools of theory often arise from, and so give support to, different moral and political commitments. For instance, the work of the New Critics often contained an implicit moral dimension, and sometimes even a religious one: a New Critic might read a poem by T. Eliot or Gerard Manley Hopkins for its degree of honesty in expressing the torment and contradiction of a serious search for belief in the modern world.

    Meanwhile, a Marxist critic might find such judgments merely ideological rather than critical; the Marxist would say that the New Critical reading did not keep enough critical distance from the poem's religious stance to be able to understand it. Such a disagreement cannot be easily resolved, because it is inherent in the radically different terms and goals that is, the theories of the critics. Their theories of reading derive from vastly different intellectual traditions: the New Critic bases his work on an East-Coast American scholarly and religious tradition, while the Marxist derives his thought from a body of critical social and economic thought, the post-structuralist's work emerges from twentieth-century Continental philosophy of language, and the Darwinian from the modern evolutionary synthesis.

    In the late s, the Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye attempted to establish an approach for reconciling historical criticism and New Criticism while addressing concerns of early reader-response and numerous psychological and social approaches. His approach, laid out in his Anatomy of Criticism , was explicitly structuralist, relying on the assumption of an intertextual "order of words" and universality of certain structural types. His approach held sway in English literature programs for several decades but lost favor during the ascendance of post-structuralism.

    For some theories of literature especially certain kinds of formalism , the distinction between "literary" and other sorts of texts is of paramount importance. Other schools particularly post-structuralism in its various forms: new historicism, deconstruction, some strains of Marxism and feminism have sought to break down distinctions between the two and have applied the tools of textual interpretation to a wide range of "texts", including film, non-fiction, historical writing, and even cultural events.

    Mikhail Bakhtin argued that the "utter inadequacy" of literary theory is evident when it is forced to deal with the novel ; while other genres are fairly stabilized, the novel is still developing. Another crucial distinction among the various theories of literary interpretation is intentionality, the amount of weight given to the author's own opinions about and intentions for a work. For most preth century approaches, the author's intentions are a guiding factor and an important determiner of the "correct" interpretation of texts.

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    Postmodern Novels and Novelists | Literary Theory and Criticism

    The New Criticism was the first school to disavow the role of the author in interpreting texts, preferring to focus on "the text itself" in a close reading. In fact, as much contention as there is between formalism and later schools, they share the tenet that the author's interpretation of a work is no more inherently meaningful than any other. Listed below are some of the most commonly identified schools of literary theory, along with their major authors. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    What Is Postmodernist Literature? An Introduction

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