Thursday, August 13, 2009

What makes a postmodern novel

Courtesy The Rumpus, I found a link to an entry on the LA Times books blog listing 61 "essential" postmodern novels. I was more amused by the alleged common attributes of a postmodern novel, as defined by the author -- LA Times books columnist and reviewer Carolyn Kellogg -- than by the list itself (of which I have read 12 of the 61 books). The list of common attributes:
  • author is a character
  • self-contradicting plot
  • disrupts/plays with form
  • comments on its own bookishness
  • plays with language
  • includes fictional artifacts, such as letters
  • blurs reality and fiction
  • includes historical falsehoods
  • overtly references other fictional works
  • more than 1000 pages
  • less than 200 pages
  • postmodern progenitor

To that list of attributes, I would add "refers to pop culture ironically, i.e. in such a way as to both embrace it and distance itself from it."

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