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Title: The fiction of postmodernity : dialectical studies of Martin Amis, Don DeLillo and Salman Rushdie
Author: Baker, Stephen
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis is a dialectical study of fiction by Martin Amis, Don DeLillo and Salman Rushdie. It situates novels by these three writers in relation to a Western Marxist theoretical understanding of the postmodern and the culture of postmodernity, particularly as developed in the writings of Fredric Jameson. While the thesis is intended to demonstrate how such theoretical accounts help illuminate interpretation of contemporary, postmodern fiction, it also suggests how that fiction might provide a critique, or expose the limitations, of those theoretical or conceptual models themselves. The thesis traces, in selected examples of Amis's, DeLillo's and Rushdie's fiction, elements of dialectical conflict. It describes the means by which the texts enact simultaneously a form of ideological complicity with what Jameson (following the economist Ernest Mandel) calls 'late capitalism' and a measure of social and cultural critique. It is with this identification of both the ideological and the critical features of postmodern fiction that the thesis is principally concerned. Chapter one charts a Western Marxist model of transition from modernism to postmodernism both through the theoretical writings of Georg Lukács, Theodor Adorno and Fredric Jameson and through brief studies of examples of modernist and late-modernist fiction. It concludes with an acknowledgement of the difficulties Western Marxist aesthetics have had in identifying any critical potential in postmodern culture. Nonetheless, the literary studies which succeed chapter one offer lengthy insistence that a properly Marxian analysis must attempt to identify both the affirmative and the critical moments of cultural commodities. This is a step which, with regard to postmodern texts, Western Marxist critics have thus far been reluctant to take.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available