By Jeremy Green (auth.)
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Extra resources for Late Postmodernism: American Fiction at the Millennium
Lyotard’s position here recalls the theories of écriture associated with Barthes, Kristeva, Sollers, and others within the Tel Quel group. Ideas of textuality entered the Anglophone academy in various guises, and were particularly important to the reception of French feminism, but they have not been especially applicable to the American fiction subsequently canonized as postmodern. Furthermore, Lyotard’s aesthetics of the sublime tied postmodern literature quite closely to modernism, and appeared to call for an austere avant-gardism, as well as a return to Kant’s Critique of Judgment.
The study of culture is no longer restricted to the sanctioned works of the literary or artistic tradition, but flourishes in its attention to all kinds of activity. This approach to the whole range of practices by which social and cultural identities are produced largely removes the critic from the business of evaluation. No longer is it necessary to argue that one kind of cultural activity is superior to another: reading Dante is no better than watching a soap opera. Culture can now be understood and enjoyed without appeal to evaluative criteria founded on aesthetic disinterestedness.
On the one hand, suspicion has fallen on the study of single authors and on the attendant rhetoric of creativity and the imagination, a suspicion that often hardens into an outright hostility between the critical and creative wings of English departments. But on the other, the author remains a central category throughout contemporary institutions of literature, from the pedagogical selection of texts to the marketing of books. The postmodern era may be firmly established, but authors have yet to whither away.
Late Postmodernism: American Fiction at the Millennium by Jeremy Green (auth.)