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Title: After postmodernism : contemporary theory and fiction
Author: Tsoulou, Martha
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 0128
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2014
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There is a consensus today that we have witnessed the end of postmodernism in both fiction and theory. Due to contemporary fiction’s break with postmodernism being recent, little research has been done to outline the parameters of what exactly this break entails and its relationship to theory and current socio-political issues. The aim of this thesis is to attempt to differentiate between postmodernist fiction and contemporary fiction that was produced from the late 90’s up to today, outline its main characteristics and suggest alternative ways theory may be used to critically analyse fiction. We will be looking at how Habermas’s, Agamben’s, Žižek’s and Badiou’s theories, as well as, a reconsideration of some of Derrida’s and Baudrillard’s theories, can help elucidate certain aspects of contemporary fiction and vice versa. Some of the novelists that will be considered in this discussion are Paul Auster, Don DeLillo, Douglas Coupland, J G Ballard, Julian Barnes, Jonathan Coe and Michel Houellebecq due to their close association with postmodernism and its aftermath. The thesis is divided thematically in five chapters. In the first chapter we will be discussing the impact of 9/11 on contemporary fiction in relation to Derrida’s, Habermas’s, Baudrillard’s and Žižek’s responses to the attacks. The second chapter is concerned with notions of reality and its representations in contemporary fiction. It will be discussed how they differ from Baudrillard’s conceptualisation of hyperreality during postmodernity in light of Badiou’s and Žižek’s theory mainly. The realist/antirealist debate will also be addressed. The third chapter is a consideration of notions of subjectivity in both contemporary theory and fiction and how they may be said to differ from playful, schizophrenic representations of the subject during postmodernity. The fourth chapter is concerned with the return of the political in both theory and fiction after the supposed apoliticality of the postmodern novel, which we will also be addressing. The final chapter is an investigation of the re-emergence of the religious in contemporary culture, including the novel, which proves that the death of meta-narratives may not have been that final after all.
Supervisor: Watkin, W. ; Tew, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Auster ; Delillo ; Coupland ; Barnes ; Ballard ; Hovellebcq ; McEwan ; Brett Easton Ellis ; Habermas ; Derida ; Baudrillard ; Zizek ; Agamben ; Badiou ; Late capitalism ; politics ; religion