The State of Things in Postmodernism
This introductory chapter opens with a brief review of the literature that explores the death of postmodernism in literary studies, and goes on to offer a counternarrative in light of various neomaterialist approaches to literature. Although it has traditionally been characterized as a subversive enterprise committed to the demystification and deconstruction of social categories such as race, gender, class, and nation that purportedly produce culture, what makes literature postmodern is its preoccupation with the material things and relations that constitute those categories. The great insight of postmodernism, then, is not that our social categories are somehow artificial or inauthentic, but that they are continuously the products of material processes. The introduction ends with an overview of the remaining chapters, each of which tracks the circulation of material objects through works of literature to re-examine a key orthodoxy of postmodernism.
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