Hear The Voice Of The Artist: Postmodernism As A Faustian Bargain Cover Image

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Hear The Voice Of The Artist: Postmodernism As A Faustian Bargain

Author(s): Lena Petrović
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Универзитет у Нишу
Keywords: Postmodernism; politics; theory; literature; Faust

Summary/Abstract: The view put forward in this paper is simple and radical. I propose that postmodern literature does not exist. The term ‘postmodern’ may be employed meaningfully to describe the massive material and political changes that marked the end of the millennium, the mood - from resigned acceptance to euphoric celebration - that accompanies them, and a range of theories giving both sophisticated academic support. The effectiveness of these theories depends on what Umberto Eco called a cogito interruptus: the imposition upon the reader of the kind of reasoning that ‘rests on … the modes of denied rationality.’ But such deliberate interruptions of intellectual and ethical understanding, fashionably prescribed as a criterion of what constitutes not only postmodern theory but also ‘postmodern art’, are, in fact, contrary to the purpose of art, which still is what it was for Conrad: ‘to make you see ... that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask.’ There have been hints lately that postmodernism has reached an impasse and that it is time we looked for a way beyond it. My position, as developed in the rest of the paper, is different in so far as it assumes that while the contemporary artist cannot help being implicated in the postmodern condition, his art is ‘always already’ on its way beyond it. In support of this view I offer a reading of Mark Ravenhill’s play Faust (Faust Is Dead).

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 01
  • Page Range: 277-300
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: English