Postmodern literature

‘a flatness or depthlessness…—perhaps the supreme formal feature of all the
postmodernisms’ (p. 60);
• a waning of affect, or feeling, linked to the (alleged) loss of discrete subjectivity,
(p. 61) and
• the replacement of affect (especially alienated angst) by ‘a peculiar kind of
euphoria’ coupled with a loss of memory (p. 64);3
• the end of personal, unique style and a sense of history itself, and their
replacement by pastiche (not parody, but the transcoding of modernist idiolects
into jargon, badges and other decorative codes) and nostalgia (pp. 64–5);
• the fragmentation of artistic texts after the model of schizophrenic écriture,
which takes the form especially of collage governed by ‘differentiation rather
than unification’ (pp. 71–6);4
• and most of all, the ‘hysterical sublime’, a theme developed in Lyotard, in
which the ‘other’ of human life surpasses our power to represent it and pitches
us into a sort of Gothic rapture (pp. 76 ff.).


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