English 651:  Literary Theory

The Poetics of Postmodernism

Professor Joseph Conte

Fall 2004


bulletSep 2: Introduction: The Poetics of Postmodernism.
bulletSep 9: Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition. Metanarratives; scientific knowledge; and informatics.
bulletSep 16: Hans Bertens, The Idea of the Postmodern. Part I, Postmodernisms: 3-108. Competing definitions.
bulletSep 23: Linda Hutcheon, The Politics of Postmodernism. Parody; mass media; feminist politics and practice.
bulletSep 30: Frederic Jameson, The Cultural Turn. Chapters 1-4, 6. Pastiche and late capitalism. Marxism and postmodernism. Hans Bertens, "Frederic Jameson: Fear and Loathing in Los Angeles," The Idea of the Postmodern: 160-84.
bulletOct 7: Perry Anderson, The Origins of Postmodernity. Pre-history, ideology, instantiation.
bulletOct 14: Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation. Cultural production. The televisual image. Hans Bertens, "Antithetical Radicalisms: Richard Rorty and Jean Baudrillard," The Idea of the Postmodern: 138-59.

Oct 21: Steven Best and Douglas Kellner, The Postmodern Turn.  Philosophical precursors to the postmodern.  Chaotic science.  Paradigm shifts.

bulletOct 28: Leslie Fiedler, "Cross the border—close that gap: Postmodernism." A Fiedler Reader. David Antin, "Modernism and Postmodernism: Approaching the Present in American Poetry." Boundary 2. Popular fiction and talk poetry.
bulletNov 4: John Barth, "The Literature of Exhaustion" and "The Literature of Replenishment" in The Friday Book. "Postmodernism Revisited" and "4½ Lectures" in Further Fridays. Fiction, fabrication, and fabulation. Brian McHale, "Narrating Literary Histories," Constructing Postmodernism: 19-32.
bulletNov 11: Charles Jencks. What is Post-Modernism? Double coding and eclecticism in art and architecture.
bulletNov 18: Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women.  The postmodern body, gender and the machine.
bulletNov 25: Thanksgiving Recess
bulletDec 2: Mark Poster, The Information Subject.  Postmodern virtualities, the media and cyberdemocracy.
bulletDec 9: Conclusions.

Course Requirements

For all students registered intensively, a 20-minute oral presentation on an issue related to course materials, accompanied by a one-page single-spaced précis and bibliography of additional sources; a twenty-page research paper due no later than Friday, December 17. For Master’s students registered extensively, a 20-minute oral presentation or short position paper is required for a letter grade.

Required Texts

Anderson, Perry. The Origins of Postmodernity. New York: Verso, 1998.
Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1991.
Bertens, Hans. The Idea of the Postmodern: A History. New York: Routledge, 1995.
Best, Steven, and Douglas Kellner.  The Postmodern Turn.  New York: Guilford Press, 1997.
Haraway, Donna.  Simians, Cyborgs, and Women:  The Reinvention of Nature.  New York: Routledge, 1991.
Hutcheon, Linda. The Politics of Postmodernism. New York: Routledge, 1989.
Jameson, Fredric. The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern, 1983-1998. New York: Verso, 1998.
Jencks, Charles. What is Post-Modernism? Fourth Edition. London: Academy Editions, 1996.
Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.
Poster, Mark.  The Information Subject.  Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach Arts International, 2001. 

Reserve List

Altieri, Charles. Postmodernisms Now: Essays on Contemporaneity in the Arts. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998. NX456.5.P66A46 1998
Antin, David. "Modernism and Postmodernism: Approaching the Present in American Poetry." Boundary 2, I, 1 (Fall 1972): 98-133.
Barth, John. The Friday Book: Essays and Other Nonfiction. New York: Putnam, 1984. PS3552.A721 F7 1984
---. Further Fridays: Essays, Lectures, and Other Nonfiction, 1984-1994. Boston: Little, Brown, 1995. PS3552 .A721 F87 1995
Best, Steven, and Douglas Kellner.  The Postmodern Adventure:  Science, Technology, and Cultural Studies at the Third Millennium.  New York: Guilford Press, 2001. HM449 .B47 2001
---. Postmodern Theory: Critical Interrogations. New York: Guilford Press, 1991. PN98.P67 B4 1991
Calinescu, Matei. Five Faces of Modernity: modernism, avant-garde, decadence, kitsch, postmodernism. Durham: Duke University Press, 1987. BH301.M54 C34 1987
Fiedler, Leslie. "Cross the border—close that gap: Postmodernism." A Fiedler Reader. New York: Stein and Day, 1977. PS3556.I34 A6 1977
Fokkema, Douwe, and Hans Bertens, eds. Approaching Postmodernism. Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1986. PN771 .W67 1984
Haraway, Donna. Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991. GN365.9 .H37 1991b
Harvey, David. The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1989. CB428 .H38 1989
Hassan, Ihab.  The Postmodern Turn:  Essays in Postmodern Theory and Culture.  Columbus:  Ohio State University Press, 1987.  PN771 .H346 1987
Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction. New York: Routledge, 1988. PN3503 .H83 1988
Huyssen, Andreas. After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1986. NX456 .H89 1986
Jameson, Frederic. Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991. PN98.P67 J3 1991
Jencks, Charles, ed. The Post-Modern Reader. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992. B831.2 .P64 1992
Kroker, Arthur. The Postmodern Scene: Excremental Culture and Hyper-aesthetics. Montreal, Quebec: New World Perspectives, 1986. NX456.5.P66 K75 1986b
Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Explained: Correspondence, 1982-1985. Ed. Julian Pefanis and Morgan Thomas. Trans. Don Barry, et al. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. B831.2 .L9513 1993
---. Toward the Postmodern. Ed. Robert Harvey and Mark S. Roberts. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1993. B831.2 .L96 1993
McGowan, John. Postmodernism and its Critics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991. PN98.P67 M37 1991
McHale, Brian. Constructing Postmodernism. New York and London: Routledge,1992. PN3503 .M37 1992
Newman, Charles. The Post-Modern Aura: The Act of Fiction in an Age of Inflation. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1985. PN771 .N48 1985
Norris, Christopher. What's Wrong with Postmodernism: Critical Theory and the Ends of Philosophy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. London : Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1990. B831.2 .N67 1990b
Perloff, Marjorie, ed. Postmodern Genres. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988. PN98.P67 P67 1989
Poster, Mark. Cultural History and Postmodernity: Disciplinary Readings and Challenges. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997. D13.P585 1997
---.  What’s the Matter with the Internet?  Minneapolis:  University of Minnesota Press, 2001.  HM851 .P67 2001
Rose, Margaret. The Post-Modern and the Post-Industrial, A Critical Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. B831.2 .R67 1991
Wheale, Nigel, ed.  The Postmodern Arts:  An Introductory Reader.  London and New York: Routledge, 1995.  NX456.5 .M64 P67 1995

Last revised on Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Joseph M. Conte. All Rights Reserved.