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Flights from realism - Marguerite Alexander

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Flights from realism - themes and strategies in postmodernist British and American fiction
Marguerite Alexander
Paperback / softback
Edward Arnold
UK Publication Date

In her survey, the author examines the main areas of developme nt in the novel since the great innovative writers of the early part of this century. She investigates the historical impulses that have driven postmodernism in fiction, with particular reference to the influence of James Joyce; to the main philosophical shifts in 20th century thinking; to the pressure of events experienced by a number of those writers who had abandoned traditional "realist" modes of writing.;Among the broad questions addressed by the study are: Should fiction console (popular fiction suggests that readers want consolation, yet few postmodernist writers seem to be offering it)? Is the postmodernist period, with the widespread loss of religious faith and the threat of nuclear Armageddon, qualitatively different from earlier periods? Is postmodernism decadent (in its narcissistic aestheticism; in subject matter; in perhaps being, in the long view of history, a tailpiece to a generation of great creative writers who left no obvious way forward)?;In seeking evidence on these matters, Marguerite Alexander considers the work of a number of novelists, including Faulkner, Beckett, Lowry, Durrell, Golding, Nabokov, Pynchen, Fowles, Lessing, Murdoch, Vonnegut, and Doctorow. Reasons are sought for the different strategies in British and American writing: for the continued commitment of realism, even among experimental British novelists, which contrasts with more extreme forms of postmodernism in American fiction. The result is a thesis of what is meant by postmodernism in fiction and why writers choose this mode of writing; in particular, we are given an insight into the common philosophical basis of postmodernism and the newer literary theories.

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Keyword Index
English fiction - 20th century - History and criticism.|American fiction - 20th century - History and criticism.|Postmodernism (Literature)
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