The Paramaters of Postmodernism

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In The Parameters of Postmodernism, Nicholas Zurbrugg demonstrates how contemporary artistic creativity discredits popular apocalyptic theories. The Parameters of Postmodernism offers a highly polemical discussion of the conflict between what Zurbrugg presents as the misleading assumptions of many of the more negative theoretical accounts of postmodern culture and the positive creativity of most leading postmodern artists, writers, and performers. Zurbrugg challenges what he considers the fictions of popular ...

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Overview

In The Parameters of Postmodernism, Nicholas Zurbrugg demonstrates how contemporary artistic creativity discredits popular apocalyptic theories. The Parameters of Postmodernism offers a highly polemical discussion of the conflict between what Zurbrugg presents as the misleading assumptions of many of the more negative theoretical accounts of postmodern culture and the positive creativity of most leading postmodern artists, writers, and performers. Zurbrugg challenges what he considers the fictions of popular crisis theories by demonstrating that the so-called crises are only theoretical constructs at odds with current artistic practice. Based on Zurbrugg’s extensive interviews with a number of the leading postmodern artists, writers, and performers (Anderson, Baudrillard, Beckett, Cage, Glass, Rainer, and Wilson, among them), this book presents a challenging, positive view of postmodern culture.

Zurbrugg names the condition caused by the prevailing negative theories about postmodern culture the B-effect, a term derived from the work of a number of influential European writers and theorists (Brecht, Beckett, Barthes, Baudrillard, Bourdieu, and others) who have insisted on the lack of valid avant-garde innovation, the "death" of artistic creativity, and the lack of a permanent reality. In the first section of The Parameters of Postmodernism, Zurbrugg considers the contradictions in the arguments of the B-effect writers and points to later writings in which they qualify their earlier, most infamous assertions.

In the second section of the book, Zurbrugg introduces the offsetting C-effect of postmodern culture, an effect based on those more positive creative practices and theories best exemplified, he feels, by the work of the late American composer John Cage. Zurbrugg identifies additional aspects of the C-effect in the multimedia experiments of other Americans, such as Anderson, Ashley, Glass, Monk, Rainer, and Wilson, who interweave various postmodern media with confidence and invention and those European artists and writers like Beuys, Carrington, Eco, Grass, Muller, and Wolf who revive, modify, and reanimate mythological, medieval, neoclassical, and folk traditions. Zurbrugg argues that in each case—high-tech or revivalist—postmodern creativity culminates in highly positive syntheses of past, present, and futuristic materials.

The Parameters of Postmodernism will interest scholars and students of postmodern culture, especially those working in English, comparative literature, French, performance studies, art history, and interdisciplinary humanities.

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The author challenges prevalent negative theories about postmodern culture and refocuses debate on the facts of current creativity, dealing with specific works and providing an empirical analysis. He draws on interviews with such postmodern artists, writers, and performers as Laurie Anderson, Jean Baudrillard, Samuel Beckett, and John Cage, among others. Paper edition (1887-3), $12.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809318520
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1993
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 200
  • Lexile: 1830L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas Zurbrugg is a senior lecturer in comparative literature at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. He is the author of Beckett and Proust, Visual Poetics: Concrete Poetry and Its Contexts and Positively Postmodern: The Multi-Media Muse in America, Interview’s with the Contemporary Avant-Garde.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Anti-Art or Ante-Art? 1
Monumental Art or Submonumental Art? 4
Eagleton and the Apocalyptic Fallacy 5
Introducing the B-Effect 7
Introducing the C-Effect 8
Deploring/Exploring Hyperspace: Jameson and Cage 10
Stupefaction or Enlivenment? 13
Benjamin and the Loss of Aura 15
Barthes, Belsey, and the Death of the Author 16
Burger and the Death of the Avant-Garde 18
Bonito-Oliva, Baudrillard, and the Collapse of the New 20
Beckett, Brecht, and the Attractions of Antinarrative 21
Beckett's Poetics of Failure/Brecht's Poetics of Interrogation 23
Beckett, Brecht, and the Groan of the Text 27
Warhol and the Grin of the Text 27
Eagleton, Jameson, and Dehistoricized Culture 29
Cage, Kostelanetz, and Value Judgments 31
Jameson, Rauschenberg, and Premature Exasperation 33
Cage, Rauschenberg, and Ryman 34
Cage and Consumption 35
Collective Narrative and the Struggle with Simulacra 37
Depersonalized Culture or Repersonalized Culture? 39
Cage and the Antilogic of the Text 41
Beckett, Cage, and Nothing 44
Beckett, Cage, and Programmatic Composition 45
Purposeful Purposelessness or Nothing to Be Done? 47
Jameson, Bourdieu, and the Destruction of Art and Taste 49
Chion, Cage, and New Aesthetic Rationales 50
Postmodernism's Purist Aesthetic 52
Postmodernism's Hybrid Aesthetic 54
Feldman, Crazy Contradiction, and the Conceptual, Artistic Life 55
Pure "H" - Habermas and Communicative Rationality 57
Beuys, Adorno, and the Silence of Marcel Duchamp 60
Beuys, Cage, Buchloh, and the B-B-Effect 64
Jappe, Jameson, and the Concept of Utopia 68
Bense, Concrete Poetry, and the Dwindling of the Poetic Element 70
Chopin, Human Vitality, and Technological Civilization 73
Conz and the New Saints of the Avant-Garde 75
A Problem in Design: Lax and Mann 77
Postmodernism at Two Speeds: Hassan, Janco, and Seuphor 81
Rainer, Robbe-Grillet, Reich, and the Turn to Interobjectivity 85
Robbe-Grillet and the Re-turn to the Subjective Type of Writing 88
Rainer and the Re-turn to Identity 90
Reich and the Re-turn to Historical Realities 92
Multimedia Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Gaburo and Ashley 94
Monk and the Re-turn to Recurrence 97
Umberto Eco and the Re-turn to the Middle Ages 100
Grass and the Destruction of Mankind 104
Grass, Mann, and the Re-turn to Forbidden Literature 106
Ernst, Carrington, and the Re-turn of Surrealism 109
Carrington, Cage, Beuys, and the Poetics of Resistance 112
Cage, Carrington, Barthes, Burroughs, Bense: From Artha to Moksha 114
Cage, Wolf, and the Re-turn to the Third Alternative 116
Wolf, Mann, and the Authority of Literary Genres 118
Muller, Beuys, and the Elevation of the Berlin Wall 120
Muller, Brecht, and the Petrification of Hope 123
Muller, Wilson, and the Re-turn to the Classics 125
Huyssen and the Endgame of the Avant-Garde 129
Huyssen, Popper, and the Electrification of the Avant-Garde 132
Bunuel, Breton, Benjamin, Baudrillard, and the Myths of Mechanical Depersonalization 137
DeLillo, Muller, Lyotard, Kroker, and the Panic Sensibility 140
Ballard, The Kindness of Women, and Catharsis 142
Beyond the Disappearance of Value: Anderson and Acker 144
Toward Effective Communication: Kruger and Holzer 148
Appropriation, Neutralization, and Reconciliation: Tillers and Johnson 150
Independent Internationalism: Finlay and Lax 152
Anderson and American Active Freedom 155
Glass and Wilson: Alienation Effect or Empathy Effect? 157
Burroughs, Walker, and the Pattern of Chaos 159
Beckett, Warrilow, and the Clarity of Spirit 160
Considered in Diagrammatic Summary: The Phases of Postmodernism 162
The Modes of Modernism and Postmodernism 164
Baudrillard or Cage? Degeneration or Affirmation? 165
Burt, Wendt, and the Positive Parameters of Postmodernism 168
Index 173
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