RARA-AVIS: Re: One of Miker's favourite bugaboos (another definition to argue about?)

From: jacquesdebierue ( jacquesdebierue@yahoo.com)
Date: 21 Sep 2007

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Burton Smith <kvnsmith@...> wrote:
> What do you mean exactly when you say post-modern, anyway? When did
> it start? Is there a clear date?
> You often slam things for being post-modern, but I'm not sure what
> you mean by it most of the time.

Hi, Kev. I think people refer to a "postmodern book or style" when the author somehow puts the reader in the know that the story isn't serious, where the text parodies or at least draws on the genre itself. The systematic or generalized wink, in other words, the text becoming mainly a literary object and not a straight narration of events. The word "postmodern" became widely known through the book
_The Postmodern Condition_. Since then, it has been used with many meanings (also without a very specific meaning, let us acknowledge).

What would be some early postmodern mysteries? The Borges story "Death and the Compass" is postmodern, I would say. And if you read Cervantes's Don Quixote, he puts himself in there, in the second part talks about the first part, sometimes addresses the reader with a clear wink, and so on. As a technical device, it's old. There is also a wonderful book by the great Portuguese writer E硠de Queiroz, called
_The Correspondence of Fradique Mendes_, made up of letters supposedly written by this Mendes guy, who is and at the same time is not E硬 a very curious book. Sometimes Mendes sounds like E硠making fun of E硊 the writer. If it were published today instead of over 100 years ago, people would call it postmodern.

And Norbert Davis couldn't help but know what he was doing in some of his stories and novels (_The Mouse in the Mountain_, anyone?).



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