By Linda Hutcheon
1 Theorizing the postmodern: towards a poetics
2 Modelling the postmodern: parody and politics
3 proscribing 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
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 historical past 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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Additional info for A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction
History is not made obsolete: it is, however, being rethought—as a human construct. And in arguing that history does not exist except as text, it does not stupidly and “gleefully” deny that the past existed, but only that its accessibility to us now is entirely conditioned by textuality. We cannot know the past except through its texts: its documents, its evidence, even its eye-witness accounts are texts. Even the institutions of the past, its social structures and practices, could be seen, in one sense, as social texts.
Lately there have been other critical works which have come close to articulating the kind of poetics I think we need, though all offer a somewhat more limited version. But they too have investigated the overlappings of concern between current philosophical and literary theory and practice. Evan Watkins’s The Critical Act: Criticism and Community aims to derive a theory of literature that can “elicit from recent poetry in particular the means of talking about and talking back to developments in theory” (1978, x).
But it also suggests that we must be critically conscious of the myths of both the modernists and the late-romantic avant-garde. The “élitism” of Dada and of Eliot’s verse is exactly what postmodernism paradoxically seeks to exploit and to undercut. But the theorist/practitioners of postmodernism in all the arts—from Umberto Eco to Karlheinz Stockhausen—are emphatic in their commitment to the formation (or recollection) of a more generally shared collective aesthetic code. They insist: “It is not just the cry of rage of a minority of intellectuals who want to teach others how to live, and who celebrate their own solitude and separateness” (Portoghesi 1983, 81).