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Reflection of Time in Postmodern Literature

Journal: Athens Journal of Philology (Vol.2, No. 2)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 77-88

Keywords : ;

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This paper considers key tendencies in postmodern literature and explores the concept of time in the literary works of postmodern authors. Postmodern literature is marked with such typical features as playfulness, pastiche or hybridity of genres, metafiction, hyperreality, fragmentation, and non-linear narrative. Quite often writers abandon chronological presentation of events and thus break the logical sequence of time/space and cause/effect relationships in the story. Temporal distortion is used in postmodern fiction in a number of ways and takes a variety of forms, which range from fractured narratives to games with cyclical, mythical or spiral time. Temporal distortion is employed to create various effects: irony, parody, a cinematographic effect, and the effect of computer games. Writers experiment with time and explore the fragmented, chaotic, and atemporal nature of existence in the present. In other words, postmodern literature replaces linear progression with a nihilistic post-historical present. Almost all of these characteristics result from the postmodern philosophy which is oriented to the conceptualization of time. In postmodernism, change is fundamental and flux is normal; time is presented as a construction. A special attention in the paper is paid to the representation of time in Kurt Vonnegut’s prose. The author places special emphasis on the idea of time, and shifts in time become a remarkable feature of his literary work. Due to the dissolution of time/space relations, where past, present, and future are interwoven, the effect of time chaos is being created in the author’s novels, which contribute to his unique individual style.

Last modified: 2015-07-01 20:18:52