Resources, 596L

(U of A only)

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I just finished reading a really interesting, enlightening article from the journal Cultural Critique and thought it might be of interest to some of you--as it touches on things we have been and are discussing in this class.
Here's the title and the link: "Memory as Forgetting: The Problem of the Postmodern in Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting and Spiegelman's Maus"
To quote the writer, he "investigates the ways in which the inaccessbility of the the real and the truth...has political and social repercussions in the politics of memory." The plethora of theory he uses is illuminating, and I found his discussions on historical fiction, postmodern texts (including Beloved) and theorists complex and interesting.


I don't know how to start a new strand, so this is a random "I was doing some reading" like Adrienne post:
In class we started to talk about the possibility of a book having postmodern properties for reasons other than aesthetics. Of course, it was quickly pointed out that most postmodern works are political in their aesthetics, but I think Charlie’s point remained clear: Artificial Respiration’s postmodern aesthetics may in some way be the result of active political maneuvering in the face of censors (life or death) instead of aesthetic choices to make a political point or undermine an ideology (I think the key word here is choice).
This week I read an article in Neophilolgus (Jan 1997) by Geoffrey Lord of Haagse Hogeschool, Institute of European Studies entitled “Mystery and History, Discovery and Recovery in Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 and Graham Swift’s Waterland.” His major point is that when speaking of postmodern texts one cannot universalize the term postmodern and ignore national boundaries. He uses the two texts, Crying (American) and Waterland (British), to “demonstrate the persistence of national historical/cultural differences.” While the article goes on to specifics, in a general sense he uses Richard Chase’s distinctions between British and American novels: British novels have an “imperial enterprise, an appropriation of reality with the high purpose of bringing order to disorder” while American novels have “usually seemed content to explore,…merely to discover.” I’m not sure I’m convinced by these distinctions, especially taking into account non-white America, but I think his point is still there. We shouldn’t let postmodernism “obscure distinctive literary histories.” By the diverse reading this semester and the delayed discussion of the postmodern, we seem to be heading in the right direction, but it’s something for us to think about.

Mary, translator

I was looking for something new to read and I was surprised how many people still read meaningful books... We'll survive as the mankind while we have literature conferences, while we contemplate over postmodernism and read the best books from all over the world :)
Good luck!

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