Reconstructive Dreams: A Pragmatic Fantastic After Postmodernism

Huber, Irmtraud (2013). Reconstructive Dreams: A Pragmatic Fantastic After Postmodernism (Unpublished). (Dissertation, Universität Bern, Institut für Englische Sprachen und Literaturen)

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This dissertation focuses on the use of fantastic elements in the work of a young generation of writers which explore the possibilities of literary development after and beyond postmodernism. By overtly declaring the fictionality of their fantastic stories by means of frame narratives, texts like Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated (2002), Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000), Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000), David Mitchell’s number9dream (2001) and Yann Martel’s Life of Pi (2001) reassess the communicative value of genre boundaries in an attempt to move beyond postmodern relativity and breakdown of communicability. This clear focus on pragmatic concerns marks a shift in the use of the fantastic which calls for a reconsideration of some of the general critical assumptions about the workings of the mode. Though the relation between reality and fiction remains a central issue, the main concern shifts away from such epistemological and ontological considerations, towards questions concerning the pragmatic function of literary fiction in general and different genres in particular. Instead of dwelling on the typically postmodern concerns about the fictionality of reality and the instability of meaning, the works under discussion emphasise the constructive role fiction plays in dealing with reality, the uses to which it can be put and the functions it fulfils in fashioning our being in the world. Drawing on Iser’s theory of the fictive, Irmtraud Huber therefore suggests a reconceptualisation of the fantastic mode, which newly foregrounds its underlying pragmatic structure. She bring this adapted understanding to bear in a close textual analysis of the above mentioned literary texts, with the aim to account for their use of the mode in their commitment to a larger literary endeavour of a new generation that engages with the inheritance of postmodernism and struggles to come into its own.

Item Type:

Thesis (Dissertation)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures > Modern English Literature

UniBE Contributor:

Huber, Irmtraud

Subjects:

800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 820 English & Old English literatures

Language:

English

Submitter:

Irmtraud Huber

Date Deposited:

28 Feb 2014 11:39

Last Modified:

28 Feb 2014 11:39

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/42037

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