Uncertainty in Postmodern Literature: With Special Reference to the Novels of Alasdair Gray and Salman Rushdie.
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis is a selective study of Postmodern literature, focusing on the work of Alasdair Gray and Salman Rushdie. Postmodern literature is an expression of and response to the profound uncertainty that characterises the late-twentieth century. The works of many diverse authors attempt to come to terms with the Postmodern situation, which Jürgen Habermas has described as `the legitimation crisis'. The Enlightenment metanarratives that legitimise Western, industrial societies, have been undermined by Capitalism and events. We no longer accept general metanarratives and this generates profound uncertainty. As Postmodern literature challenges the incomplete certainties of grandnarratives, such as religious and political ideologies, it adopts uncertain forms. Texts create series of debates because these dramatise our conflicting uncertainties and our reluctance to accept, set positions, and answers that erroneously claim to be universal and absolute. By presenting issues in conflict without offering a set conclusion, fiction is able to bring its readers actively into the arguments and find a role for itself within society. The uncertainty of the present has contributed to an impression that we have lost a sense of connection with the past and future and therefore continuous identity. Postmodern novels tend to concentrate upon the struggles of the present in order to free the future from both restrictive traditional visions and the paralysing present. The future finally emerges as the direct product of the past and present, but we can also begin to imagine it as something radically different. Postmodern literature does not create new metanarratives, it legitimises a tense and provisional relationship with society that helps peoples to live in an uncertain world while not surrendering to it.
AuthorsDavidson, Amanda Anne
- Theses