Influence of Post Modernism on Contemporary Writing: An Interdisciplinary Study

Author: Punter, David
This is a book that treats postmodernism in its own terms, regarding it as a phenomenon which both represents a contemporary moment and also looks towards its own transcendence, passing away, disappearance. It is distinctive in two ways. First, it not only deals with recognizably postmodern features and aspects – the death of the author, dislocations of time and space, experimentations with different media – but it also looks forward to modes of writing and textuality which have – perhaps already – displaced the postmodern – the graphic novel, electronic textuality, the virtually real. Second, it attempts a type of discourse that matches these developments: never completely discursive or linear, this book seeks for a new type of criticism which will both reflect the spectrality towards which much postmodernism tends and at the same time remain in touch with the need to encounter postmodern and post-postmodern texts and cultural phenomena in intelligible terms. The book’s critical range extends from the Gothic through to the most recent harbingers of modernity, and it describes a trajectory that will both take account of a significant mass of recent fiction and poetry and at the same time point readers towards the most likely developments in the textualities of the twenty-first century.


“David Punter’s interdisciplinary study of the concept, conceits, tropes and motifs of the postmodern is one of the few, truly radically reorientating works on this fraught notion that I know. Punter’s writing, always lucid, always cogent, always written with wit, panache and a rigorous intelligence, here reaches a new level of engagement around a series of constellated and interwoven figures. While many books on the postmodern erect a reductive and simplistic model of ‘postmodernism’ grounded in otherwise unthought epistemological, cultural, or ontological models of their supposed subject, Punter stylishly and convincingly engages at a fundamental ontological level with what postmodernism is, what it is assumed to be, what it is not, how it is put to work, and, in several reflective gestures always related to an historical retextualisation, asks what it is we think we are doing when we deploy the very idea of the postmodern or so-called postmodernism … I have not read a better book on the postmodern, a subject by which I have become really bored because of the tedious obviousness of the majority of statements on this subject. David Punter’s volume makes me take the most vacuous and hackneyed of terms in academic language seriously again, and will, I am sure, invite many other jaded scholar to turn again to the postmodern with renewed vitality and interest as a result of this effortlessly erudite and eloquent volume.” (from the Foreword) Professor Julian Wolfreys, University of Florida

“This study is an important contribution to scholarship and to the criticism of the postmodern. But it is also more than that: it points the way forward towards the new forms of writing which are emerging at the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century. … Punter has an unfailing eye for detail … This is a book which should be ready by the academic, the student and the general reader alike. In challenging many of the assumptions of postmodern criticism it establishes a genuinely new perspective on contemporary writing, and one which is capable of radically changing our perceptions of what is going on in writing in the current moment.” – Glennis Byron, Reader, English Studies, University of Stirling

“David Punter’s study is a characteristically wide-ranging, imaginative and provoking work. Punter is extraordinarily well-read in contemporary literatures in English as well as highly informed about an impressive range of contemporary theoretical work. He has a passionate interest also in the broader political and ideological perspectives, paradoxes and traps of his topic. … He has a polemical, dynamic and also intriguingly idiosyncratic slant on his material. … And his study duly explores and illuminates such topoi. But in focusing on questions of geography, the gothic, the uncanny, e-technology, the graphic novel and the figure of the relic, and in doing so in ways that can sometimes seem closer to fictional than traditional critical practice, he also brings new imaginative energies and strangeness to the task.” – Professor Nicholas Royle, Department of English, University of Sussex

Table of Contents

1. Postmodern Geographies
2. Nesiographics: A Faulty Alphabet of Islands
3. Corporate Fictions
4. e-textuality: Authenticity after the Postmodern
5. New Versions of the Uncanny
6. A Phantomatology (I)
7. Postmodern Gothic
8. A Phantomatology (II)
9. The Graphic Novel
10. Presenting the Future
11. Poetry and the Postmodern
12. The Relic
13. ‘A Perfect and Absolute Blank’: Absence and the Narrator