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links for 2009-07-22

  • The thing about postmodernism is it's impossible to pin down exactly what might make a book postmodern. In looking at the attributes of the essential postmodern reads, we found some were downright contradictory. Postmodern books have a reputation for being massive tomes, like David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest" — but then there's "The Mezzanine" by Nicholson Baker, which has just 144 pages. And while postmodern books would, you'd think, have to be published after the modern period — in the 20th or 21st centuries — could postmodernism exist without "Tristram Shandy"? We think not. Below is our list of the 61 essential reads of postmodern literature. It's annotated with the attributes below — the author is a character, fiction and reality are blurred, the text includes fictional artifacts, such as letters, lyrics, even whole other books, and so on. And while this list owes much to George Ducker and David L. Ulin, you can address all complaints to me.
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