Postmodernism in Literature – Introduction


hello everyone thank you for your interest
in this nptel course entitled post modernism in literature i am dr merin simi raj i teach
in the department of humanities and social sciences at iit madras this nptel course entitled
post modernism in literature is designed as an eight week course its pitched at the postgraduate
level this is primarily intended ah as a course for students who are specializing in english
literary studies but i presume this course will also be useful for those who have a general
interest in literature culture and media in the contemporary as well
so what is post modernism post modernism as you all must be familiar with its a term which
is increasingly being used to define the diverse and complex characteristics of the twentieth
century in fact one can even say that this is perhaps the most often used term to talk
about various aspects in the twentieth century including art architecture culture or political
ideologies the various economic tendencies and even lifestyles and the general predicament
of life in the twentieth century incidentally this is also one of the most
ambiguous terms of the twentieth century resisting all attempts to define and even classify or
categorize not surprisingly a number of intellectual trajectories a number of intellectual tendencies
could also be mapped in connection with this event with this moment and that this movement
known as post modernism so if i were to give you a set of these two
items over here our digital painting by andy warhol and a text or a series of readings
ah about william shakespeare which would be postmodern in the very typical postmodern
way there is absolutely no distinction between high and low art no chronologically andy warhols
ah digital ah painting fits the exact postmodern tract its impossible to say that shakespeares
work is superior to andy warhols digital painting so in that sense we also begin to look at
a way in which the hierarchies and ah distinctions between high and low art beginning to break
down and also the ideas of truth meaning coherence these are highly contested in the postmodern
age and ah an image in the t shirt or maybe the reproduction of a painting by raja ravi
varma in one of the calendars it would all be seen as copies of copies and the endless
circulation of copies post modernism challenges the distinctions between the original and
the copy and even leading to a process of an absolute difficulty in meaning making process
and also if you are familiar with some of the contemporary movies ah such as inception
or a matrix they engage with hyper reality which is a very postmodern phenomenon its
rooted in philosophy but the manifestations are there in popular culture everywhere around
us so if you are ah one of those people who are trying to understand how is hyper reality
different from reality and realism perhaps this course will give you are an overview
of a ah number of readings a number of intellectual trajectories to go through and also in the
postmodern efface everything is a text there is absolutely no space for the predominance
of grand narratives we have moved away from the modernist sense of celebrating grand narratives
there is no idea of reality realities are much contested notions we only have copies
we only have certain simulations available so in that sense when you say that everything
is a text a shopping mall or an advertisement poster a bumper sticker ah a gravity on the
wall shakespeares attacks and movies of the contemporary everything becomes a text a scene
through this postmodern lens we cannot have a prioritization of one over the other we
cannot have a privileging of a one side over the other this gets really interesting now
and if you want to identify postmodern texts how would you do that this course will also
tell you about certain trajectory certain dominant characteristics and certain theoretical
frameworks to analyze a typically postmodern texts
so if a particular text is post modern how do i know what are the various overlaps what
are the various characteristics which make a particular text more postmodern than the
others and in that sense we also deal with this question whether there is a single post
modernism or whether there are post modernisms we look at the a singular phenomenon from
various angles we critique it we we try to understand whether post modernism is actually
there or whether it is already a past phenomena we try to negotiate with a series of these
questions through a discussion of a number of text
so in this course do we have a roadmap to go ahead whether you are looking for a step
by step guide a step by step process to understand post modernism or whether you are trying to
engage with post modernism in a very post modernist way through a series of ah texts
and series of a discourses coming in and out from various sources this course will perhaps
not the train for you if there are ideological theoretical and conceptual frameworks used
to access post modernism we try to simplify it and make it easily accessible for you
so if there is a genealogy that i can trace maybe that is something that this course will
ah offered to you our genealogy that could be traced from perhaps the earlier periods
onwards till the postmodern times ah there is a historical continuity that we would try
to built in so that we also get to know that post modernism its not a phenomenon that emerged
out of the blue but it also is rooted in particular aspects in particular intellectual trends
and also in particular historical events ideas and ideologies we try to trace this tradition
in a in a very systematic and an ineffective way through a reading of ah text context sites
and a number of critics available so this course accordingly is an attempt perhaps
to unpack the idea of post modernism through a range of ah text and text in a text as we
have already noted it could be anything so the design of the course is in such a way
that we try to access post modernism through three major rules firstly we engage with particular
theories the seminal theories seminal works which have been important in the defining
and in the framing of for what we now understand is post modernism secondly we look at the
major intellectual and artistic trends of the twentieth century which could also be
labeled as post modernist in nature and thirdly we undertake a reading of particular texts
particular sites in order to be able to appreciate how exactly post modernism manifested
in a nutshell this course offers to unpack simplify and also explain post modernism to
you in the process we also hope to be able to enable you to critically engage and negotiate
with the various facets of post modernism so here is this course for you post modernism
in literature thank you for your interest and we hope you
shall have a very fruitful and engaging ah learning journey throughout this course
thank you

9 Replies to “Postmodernism in Literature – Introduction

  1. Please refer the books you are teaching from, it will be of real HELP. Nice work. Must say looking graceful as ever.

  2. You perfectly presented all your explanation and hats off to your pronunciation ..l m in no dilemma to say this 👌

  3. I think this is one of the best (if not the best) explanations of postmodernism here in youtube. It's a very well organised presentation and summary, and the sketching of the main ideas is accurate and comprehensive. I'll watch all your course, indeed, and thank you very very much.

  4. Why is Post Modernism so difficult to understand? Because it is a self refuting philosophy: Objective truth doesn't exist, there is only subjective truth (opinion). I say that's wrong, if they say they're right, they just went against their own philosophy if they don't accept my truth to be exactly as valid as their's. How can you build a society on that, unless you want perpetual war and conflict, when people disagree and everybody is right or wrong? Post Modernism asks a lot of interesting questions and have a lot of valid criticisms, but they don't have any viable solutions. Somehow most PM's are marxists? Why? Post Modernism rejects metanarratives, but maybe it's because Foucault and Derrida were marxists, I guess. 🙂

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