Historical Dictionary of Postmodernist Literature and Theater

Overview

Postmodernist literature embraces a wide range of forms and perspectives, including texts that are primarily self-reflexive; texts that use pastiche, burlesque, parody, intertextuality and hybrid forms to create textual realities that either run in opposition to or in parallel with an external reality; fabulations that develop both of these strategies; texts that ironize their relationship to reality; works that use the aspects already noted to more fully engage with political or cultural realities; texts that ...

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Overview

Postmodernist literature embraces a wide range of forms and perspectives, including texts that are primarily self-reflexive; texts that use pastiche, burlesque, parody, intertextuality and hybrid forms to create textual realities that either run in opposition to or in parallel with an external reality; fabulations that develop both of these strategies; texts that ironize their relationship to reality; works that use the aspects already noted to more fully engage with political or cultural realities; texts that deal with history as a fiction; and texts that elude categorization even within the variety already explored. For example, in fiction, a postmodernist novel might tell a story about a writer struggling with writing (only, perhaps, to find that he is a character in a book by another writer struggling to write a book). The Historical Dictionary of Postmodernist Literature and Theater examines the different areas of postmodernist literature and the variety of forms that have been produced. This is accomplished through a list of acronyms, a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and several hundred cross-referenced dictionary entries on individual postmodernist writers, the important postmodernist aesthetic practices, significant texts produced throughout the history of postmodernist writing, and important movements and ideas that have created a variety of literary approaches within the form. By placing these concerns within the historical, philosophical, and cultural contexts of postmodernism, this reference explores the frameworks within which postmodernist literature of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century operates.

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Editorial Reviews

Summer 2007 Review Of Contemporary Fiction
Mason's contribution to the field is extremely significant and should be acknowledged as such and this will be a very valuable entry point for students of postmodernist literature.
March 2008 American Reference Books Annual
...essential reading....for any student of critic desiring to understand one of the major directions of contemporary literature.
September 2008 American Book Review
On the whole, this dictionary will be very helpful both to the average reader and to the scholar in need of quick and reliable information on authors, works, and intertextual relationships among them. The material covered in this book is rich and wide-ranging, consolidating but not necessarily revising in essential ways our understanding of postmodernism.
Reference and Research Book News
Writers, movements, forms of writing and textual strategies, critical ideas, and texts are cited by Mason (U. of Winchester). He also includes scholars, journals, and cultural processes that he feels to be relevant to an understanding of postmodernist writings. He provides a chronology from 1939 to 2006, extensive cross-references, and a topically arranged bibliography, but no index.
Reference Reviews
Overall though, the bibliography is superbly researched, comprehensive, and an excellent resource for further study. The same can be said for the entire Dictionary, which will be a reasonably priced acquisition for any academic library.
Library Journal

Mason (film studies, Univ. of Winchester, UK) intends his dictionary of several hundred entries to include "writers, movements, forms of writing and textual strategies, critical ideas, and texts that are significant in relation to postmodernist literature." He further adds scholars, journals, and cultural processes "where these are felt to be relevant to an understanding of postmodernist writing." The introductory essay on postmodernism provides a comprehensive overview and gives the reader a lucid understanding of this elliptical literary development. Students and scholars alike will quickly find definitions to such terms as "hyperfiction," "blank fiction," and "the death of originality"; they will easily locate any number of important authors, e.g., A.S. Byatt or Thomas Pynchon, and learn about their styles and techniques. Where seminal titles such as Umberto Eco's The Name of the Roseand Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitudeare listed, concise articles expound on their place in postmodernist literature. The extensive bibliography is broken down into categories for theory, aesthetics, culture, media, and other subjects. A chronology from 1939 to 2006 highlights the dates of important developments in postmodernist literature and theater, while the highlighted cross-reference feature allows users to find more information on the topic (e.g., "Black Mountain Poets" leads to entries on Robert Creeley and Charles Olson).
—Lisa Flanzraich

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Fran Mason is a British scholar who lectures at the University of Winchester.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Editor's Foreword Part 2 Preface Part 3 Reader's Notes Part 4 Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Non-English Usage Part 5 Chronology Part 6 Introduction Part 7 THE DICTIONArY Part 8 Bibliography Part 9 About the Author

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