Foregrounding Techniques in the Yellow Dog by Martin Amis

1 January 2017

The second half of the XX century is defined as the Postmodern Era in the development of civilization. It has been singled out into a separate period because of certain changes in human thought, world view and mode of living. The world has changed much since the beginning of the twentieth century – there has occurred a rapid development in contemporary technology which revolutionized our way of thinking. Postmodern literature, like postmodernism as a whole, is hard to define and there is little agreement on the exact characteristics, scope, and importance of postmodern literature.

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However, unifying features often coincide with Jean-Francois Lyotard’s concept of the ‘meta-narrative’ and ‘little narrative,’ Jacques Derrida’s concept of ‘play,’ and Jean Baudrillard’s ‘simulacra. ’ For example, instead of the modernist quest for meaning in a chaotic world, the postmodern author eschews, often playfully, the possibility of meaning, and the postmodern novel is often a parody of this quest. This distrust of totalizing mechanisms extends even to the author; thus postmodern writers often celebrate chance over craft and employ metafiction to undermine the author’s ‘univocal’ control (the control of only one voice).

The distinction between high and low culture is also attacked with the employment of pastiche, the combination of multiple cultural elements including subjects and genres not previously deemed fit for literature. A list of postmodern authors often varies; the following are some names of authors often so classified, most of them belonging to the generation born in the interwar period. Her father was a barrister and later a judge; her mother was a former elementary schoolteacher, neurotic and frustrated, angrily unhappy at being a full-time housewife. Both came from working-class families but had studied at Cambridge, and the household was one of books, book talk, and slamming doors.

Many comparisons are possible in discussions of these novellas, both comparisons of the novellas to each other and of one or both to other works by A. S. Byatt. The Victorian setting, not paralleled here by a modern setting as it is in Possession, may stimulate discussion of the strengths and shortcomings of [pic]Victorian society and how it compares to modern society. The double voice of postmodern fiction presents a challenge because it requires that we question the way we read and interpret not only postmodern literature but also literature as a whole.

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