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ENGL 2323 - British Literature 18th Century to the Present: Postmodernism

Guide for Professor Watson's ENGL 2323 British Literature Class

Postmodernism Defined (Sort of)

[Postmodernism] is not a term that designates a systematic theory or comprehensive philosophy. Neither does it refer to a 'system' of ideas or concepts in the conventional sense, nor is it the name denoting a unified social or cultural movement" (Usher & Edwards, 1994, p. 7). Postmodernism resists universal, all-encompassing, fixed understandings of phenomena and thus attempting to provide a singular or totalizing understanding of postmodernism is necessarily a contradiction. Indeed, the International Encyclopedia of Education (1994) says of postmodernism, "it may be better to see [it] as a complex intellectual map of late twentieth century thought and practice rather than any clear-cut philosophic, political, and/or aesthetic movement" (as cited in Barrow & Woods, 2006, p. 109). But if postmodernism resists definition, it also said to resist seriousness (Usher & Edwards, 1994).

Source: Kretchmar, Jennifer. “Postmodernism.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2019. EBSCOhost,

General Postmodernism Resources

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