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Title: Geoffrey H. Hartman and the challenge of reading postmodern fiction
Author: Soultouki, Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 581X
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis re-engages the work of the distinguished literary critic, Geoffrey H. Hartman as a means of interpreting postmodern literature. Contemporary literary criticism has acknowledged the value of Hartman’s work in thinking about contemporary culture but, until now, there have not been any attempts to apply his interpretative methods to the reading of postmodern fiction. By identifying some of Hartman’s main concerns and drawing on his revisions of his theory, this thesis offers a case study of a selection of postmodern texts, which are characteristic of the challenges that postmodern literature presents. The postmodern literary text becomes challenging for literary interpretation through its extreme experimentation and by textually transgressing traditional forms of narration. The postmodern text’s incorporation of images, its attention and use of assonance, and its itinerate, indiscriminate assemblage of diverse creative expressions complicates the interpretive task. I aim to show how Hartman’s critical contribution can inform the reading of the postmodern text but also, how the consideration of the postmodern highlights the significance of Hartman’s theoretical work. I begin by developing the complexities that the consideration of postmodern literature and Hartman’s critique present and relate the authors and texts that become the focus of this investigation in the chapters that follow. Chapter 2 considers the relationship of the postmodern text to its use of illustrations and images and explores what this relationship manifests for the nature of the postmodern. Chapter 3 draws on Hartman’s understanding of literary interpretation as the listening for different meanings of the word, with particular attention to the typographical manifestations of the dissemination of meaning in the creation of the postmodern novel. Chapter 4 examines the implications of the postmodern rejection of iii modernist concerns, in literary interpretation and postmodern theory and the effects of the postmodern condition on the development of identity and historical consciousness. Chapter 5 focuses more closely on the problems of narrative orientation and direction that develop through typographical experimentation and relates these concerns to the challenge of following Hartman’s intellectual progressions in his critical contributions. The final chapter of this thesis explores the nature and role of the contemporary critical essay in the postmodern condition and the future of literature.
Supervisor: Knight, Mark ; McCarron, Kevin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geoffrey H. Hartman ; Post-modern fiction ; Literary Criticism