↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More of the same for Baitullah's fighters, A world without literature? Pulling Teeth, Essential Post-Modern Reads

Baitullah Mehsud's Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan is a loose nexus of militant groups bound by an ideology that pits them against the United States-aligned Pakistan state and its military. The groups enjoy a very high degree of independence, which will continue even if reports of Baitullah's death in a US missile attack turn out to be true. - Syed Saleem Shahzad More of the same for Baitullah's fighters

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was on Tuesday given one and a half years of house arrest for violating the terms of a previous house arrest order. This will effectively bar her from multi-party elections next year. It will also place Myanmar on a new collision course with the United States, whose carrots of investment money in exchange for Suu Kyi's release were rejected. - Shawn W Crispin Myanmar silences Suu Kyi - again

Hardline Islamists forcibly remove gold, silver teeth from Somalis

Just over ten years ago, the mood of a large section of the North American academic world was caught in the title of a volume published by Princeton University Press with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The volume asked, What's Happened to the Humanities? - not, what are the humanities doing these days? or even, what are they doing to themselves? Instead, the pure passive dilemma : what has happened to them?1 The volume contains wonderful essays full of intelligent commentary and ideas, but the effect of the work as a whole is a scent of sophisticated disarray. Prestige, centrality, tradition, students, a public, and financial support: all gone. And for no reason that we could see - except for a more than slight tendency to blame a few of our own colleagues and their softness on "postmodernism" for doing us in. But even this sort of supposed appeasement couldn't single-handedly have caused such a collapse : history, or something, had happened to us, the humanities, with the study of English literature often at our stated or implied core. After all, literary study is where "elaborate exercises in various kinds of reading and writing" have long been most immediately visible, according to the volume's editor, Alvin Kernan. A world without literature?

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. 61 essential postmodern reads: an annotated list


Post a Comment

<< Home