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Postmodernism

Reaction to Modernism
What is Modernism? How do we react to it? Results?

Principles of Postmodernism
Disregard all basis of hierarchy, order, structure etc Born of disillusionment bred by the horrors of World War II

Rejection of elite or high class culture

Philosophical Roots
Heidegger Rejected the existence of subjectivity and objectivity Foucault Language is oppression Baudrillard Reality is extinguished in favor of simply a multiplicity of signs

Postmodernist Literature
Themes Disillusionment, Rebellion, & Anarchy Terms Deconstruction, Free Verse, Impressionism, Existentialism, Nihilism, Black Humor, Pastiche, Temporal Distortion Names Samuel Beckett, Randall Jarrell, Wallace Stevens, E.E. Cummings, Marianne Moore, Kurt Vonnegut

There are lots of things I don't understandBut from 50 years in this game, I have learned two things: (1) I can ask friends who work in these areas to explain it to me at a level that I can understand, and they can do so, without particular difficulty; (2) if I'm interested, I can proceed to learn more so that I will come to understand it. Now Derrida, Lacan, Lyotard, Kristeva, etc. even Foucault, whom I knew and liked, and who was somewhat different from the rest --- write things that I also don't understand, but (1) and (2) don't hold: no one who says they do understand can explain it to me and I haven't a clue as to how to proceed to overcome my failures. That leaves one of two possibilities: (a) some new advance in intellectual life has been made, perhaps some sudden genetic mutation, which has created a form of "theory" that is beyond quantum theory, topology, etc., in depth and profundity; or (b) ... I won't spell it out. --Noam Chomsky

Death of The Ball Turret Gunner


From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

-- Randall Jarrell

1945

Disillusionment of Ten OClock


The houses are haunted By white night-gowns. People are not going To dream of baboons and periwinkles. Only, here and there, an old sailor, Drunk and asleep in his boots, Catches Tigers In red weather.

None are green,


Or purple with green rings, Or green with yellow rings, Or yellow with blue rings. None of them are strange,
With socks of lace And beaded ceintures.

-- Wallace Stevens

A nearly wholesale rejection of mainstream traditional American Values Focused interest in Eastern Spirituality and often involved experimentation with drugs Movement began late 1940s & flourished through the 1950s and 1960s

The Beat Poets: A New Wave

On The Beat
The original beat poet, Jack Kerouac coined the term and ascribed to it a wide range of meanings

Began in New York as an underground counterculture youth movement Small but influential group of poets including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs

Dude, This is So Beat


"The so-called Beat Generation was a whole bunch of people, of all different nationalities, who came to the conclusion that society sucked." -- Amiri Baraka "Once when Kerouac was high on psychedelics with Timothy Leary, he looked out the window and said, 'Walking on water wasn't built in a day.' Our goal was to save the planet and alter human consciousness. That will take a long time, if it happens at all." -- Allen Ginsberg

Jack Kerouac
1922 1969 Highly influential musically The Beatles, The Grateful Dead, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits Not critically acclaimed until after his death

Bowery Blues - Jack Kerouac


Themes - Disillusionment, Frustration Tone Dejected, Hopeless Language Strong, Clear Language Style Coarse, Gritty

3rd Chorus Mexico City Blues -Jack Kerouac


Describe fires in riverbottom sand, and the cooking; the cooking of hot dogs spitted in whittled sticks over flames of woodfire with grease dropping in smoke to brown and blacken the salty hotdogs, and the wine, and the work on the railroad.
$275,000,000,000.00 in debt

says the Government Two hundred and seventy five billion dollars in debt Like Unending Heaven And Unnumbered Sentient Beings Who will be admitted Not-Numberable To the new Pair of Shoes Of White Guru Fleece Ojo! The Purple Paradise