Understanding "Post-Modernism"

Time Periods

One Basic, Common Idea:

From A Handbook to Literature (9th edition, page 18):

British Literature

American Literature

Modern or Modernist Period
1914 - 1965

Post-Modernist or Contemporary Period
1965 - Present

Naturalistic and Symbolistic Period

Period of Conformity and Criticism
1930 - 1960

Period of the Confessional Self
1960 - 1989

Postmodern Period
1990 - Present



Features of Postmodern Fiction:

1.) Truth and reality are problematized.

2.) Narrator often intrudes and is (or becomes) the subject of the story.

3.) Past and present are collapsed.

4.) Closure and unity are resisted.

5.) Narrative is self-conscious.

6.) History and memory are posed as nonlinear.

7.) Language's ability to name, limit, define, control, and restrict is made apparent.

Two Questions to Keep in Mind:

1.) Whose history, whose story, whose memory is foregrounded?

2.) Why or for what purpose is the story being told?

(from Dr. Joyce Malek, former ARCC professor)

Features of Post-Modernism from The Art of the Short Story