How Useful Is Postmodernism in Understanding Contemporary British Fiction

Topics: Postmodernism, Sociology, Michel Foucault Pages: 3 (855 words) Published: April 20, 2013
How useful is postmodernism in understanding contemporary British fiction

To examine the question of how useful postmodernism is in understanding contemporary British fiction, I will be using the example of ‘Sexing The Cherry’ written by Jeanette Winterson. The works that can be closely linked with this novel first published in 1989 are those of theorist and historian Michel Foucault. His ideas on sexuality mirror the ideas of sexuality used in Sexing The Cherry (Winterson. J 1989, 47-60). Postmodernism affects the way that we read a text, but why is that more important than reading a text for its own individual merit. Postmodernism as a movement is only the current movement in literature, and if we look into the past we can see that all the movements can be used to characterise some of the texts of the era in which they were written, but also there are other factors that go into analysing a text, such as historical and social context. During those times texts were analysed by using the movement of the time, however there is nothing to say that previous movements can’ be used to analyse contemporary texts, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the current movement. For example Romanticism or Modernism could still be used as a valid theory to analyse texts that are currently being published; because some of the ideas used to create the basis of these movements are still valid in today’s society, as Postmodernism is still just the progression of Modernism. It is all dependant on what the author has intended to convey with his or her story, as in any case the ideas and theories that have influenced postmodernism are those of the previous movements and societies. Foucault’s ideas of sexuality and the taboo of sexuality can be seen in the retelling of the 12 dancing princesses in Sexing The Cherry (Winterson. J. 1989, 47-60). In the story told by Winterson the twelve dancing princesses all become married to twelve princes but all but one of them part with their princes...
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