The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon is a postmodernist novella, published in 1966. The protagonist is Oedipa Maas who unearths the centuries-old conflict between two mail distribution companies, Thurn und Taxis and the Trystero (or Tristero). The former actually existed and was the first firm to distribute postal mail; the latter is Pynchon’s invention.
Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson is one of the strangest novels that I have read in recent times. It is a monologue by a woman who is the epitome of the unreliable narrator. There are numerous allusions o culture, both high and low. It is a bizarre book but entertaining. It also draws on feminist issues of daughters and sons who have been erased by history.
“One’s language is frequently imprecise in that manner, I have discovered.
Actually, the story of Turner being lashed to the mast reminds me of something, even though I cannot remember what it reminds me of.” (12)
“I am not particularly happy about this new habit of saying things that I have very little idea what I mean by saying, to tell the truth” (58). Continue reading
The term ‘postmodernism’ “is more strongly based on a negation of the modern, a perceived abandonment, break with or shift away from the definitive features of the modern, with the emphasis firmly on the sense of the relational move away” (3).
“The French use of modernite points to the experience of modernity in which modernity is viewed as a quality of modern life inducing a sense of the discontinuity of time, the break with tradition, the feeling of novelty and sensitivity to the ephemeral, fleeting and contingent nature of the present” (4).
Jameson: “the transformation of reality into images and the fragmentation of time into a series of perpetual presents” (5). Identifies (1984b) two basic features of postmodernism as (1) the transformation of reality into images and (2) a schizophrenic fragmentation of time into a series of perpetual presents” (42).
We should “focus upon the actual cultural practices and changing power balances of those groups engaged in the production, classification, circulation and consumption of postmodern cultural goods´(5).