Introducing Postmodernism by Richard Appignanesi

By Richard Appignanesi

Lines the pedigrees of postmodernism in paintings, thought and historical past, and takes us on a roller-coaster trip via structuralism, semiotics and deconstruction within the corporation of postmodern icons equivalent to Foucault, Levi-Strauss, Barthes, Derrida, Lacan and Lyotard. it's a an important advisor for a person fascination or exasperated by means of postmodernism.

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Asks one character in Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Haroun is an engaging example of the metafictional link between text and fairytale. Though it also has several explicit fairytale intertexts including a parody of ‘Rapunzel’ (73), the novel sets about answering the question posed above, and the final answer seems to stress the subversiveness of tale-telling. ’ Haroun blurted, feeling stunned. ‘Stories are fun ’ ‘The world, however, is not for Fun,’ Khattam-Shud replied. ’ Haroun made himself ask.

The above table, I think, helps highlight the structural similarities between ‘Bluebeard’ and Babel Tower in an effective way, providing a point-by-point comparison between the two texts. 6 The unconscious of the text If we accept the possibility of the palimpsestic text, a story that borrows its structure from a previously existing intertext, then we have to accept the possibility that texts can have a ‘hidden meaning’. This viewpoint is so ingrained that it has entered the critical lexicon; we speak of texts’ ‘deeper’ meaning, or having a ‘deeper’ understanding of a work, as though reading was a form of archaeology where the skilled reader is the equivalent of the diligent and knowledgeable archaeologist reconstructing the past from pottery fragments.

A common strategy in literary criticism is ‘revealing’ the influence of text a upon text b, or recognising text a as an update of text b. So it is not surprising when we see, for example, Sherrill Grace referring to John Fowles’ The Collector as an update of ‘Bluebeard’. It shares certain themes (the murderous and rich man, Eight Elements of Intertextual Use of Fairytales 31 the secret room, the isolated location) but in other ways it lacks some features that have been seen as the definitive (such as the prohibition to enter the secret room, the previously murdered wives, the bloody key as sign of disobedience).

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