Postmodern History – Marxist Derivatives and Departure

A Postmodernist approach to history in some ways mimics Marxism, which is understandable since the fountainheads of Postmodernism have Marxism in their intellectual genealogies. A distinct residue of Marxist critique remains in their work, providing them with the dichotomizing perspective so blatant in the Marxist vision of class struggle. Derrida admits that his deconstruction is a radicalization “within the tradition of a certain Marxism, in a certain spirit of Marxism.”1

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Postmodernism and History

by Lies Wesseling

A Revival of Historical Fiction

The use of historical materials as subject matter for literary prose is certainly not a constant in innovative twentieth-century literature. If we view literary history as a multilayered process comprising many different lines of development, and ranging from the clichés of popular literature to the innovative experiments carried out by various vanguard groups,1 it seems fair to say that we rarely come across historical subject matter in experimental literature during the first half of this century. Practitioners of Trivialliteratur have spawned many a novel about the wives of Henry VIII and other titillating subjects. Novelists of putatively greater stature have sought to increase our insight into the past by producing novels which are perfectly respectable according to conventional literary standards. But experimental writers such as the modernists and the various representatives of the historical avantgarde,2 who consciously sought to articulate the hitherto inarticulate by designing new literary strategies, generally neglected historical materials. Many avant-gardists were intent on making a radical rupture with the past, a project which did not stimulate the literary adaptation of historical materials. Although the modernists differed considerably from the historical avant-garde in their attitudes toward history, their interest was directed mainly toward the personal, rather than the collective past, apart from a few significant exceptions.3

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Postmodernism and The Nature of History

by Peter Brickley

Postmodernism and historians

The first of these starting points relates to the manner through which postmodern ideas might beaccepted by historians. It suggests that there is a danger in taking the debate at face value; that is, thatthe understanding which can be made of the debate, and the constituent arguments, is not exhausted bythe participants’ own descriptions of them. It is possible to arrive at a quite different account of howthey interact, other than the one that Evans and Jenkins make – or which is made for them by their supporters.What is being focused upon here, to explain this by way of example, is the response which Evans andJenkins respectively make to the process through which postmodern ideas could begin to beassimilated into disciplinary norms. The result is the opposite of what might be expected.

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Postmodernism and Historical Research

by Linda Hutcheon

The nature of historical knowledge, historical research and history writing have been challenged and questioned by postmodernism.
A much-debated term, postmodernism has been described as a cultural phenomenon that involves a critical revisiting or rethinking of the past. Postmodernism does not deny "our dominant, liberal, humanist culture", writes Linda Hutcheon, indeed it works within it, but challenges its assumptions from within. Postmodernism challenges social and political institutions, ideas of continuity and structure, the nature of historical research and knowledge, history writing, narratives and identities.

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A Brief History of Postmodernism

by Unknown

The term 'postmodernism' has become so over-used during the past 50 years that it is now difficult to take seriously as a respectable philosophical or sociological concept. However, despite the difficulty many people seem to have in making sense of it, this very ubiquity can be taken as an indication that postmodernism fulfils a useful role in the way people think about the changes that society has undergone during this period.

In order to understand it we need briefly to examine the modernism that postmodernism is supposed to be replacing. Generally, history is too messy to be divided into neat periods but a classification in which...

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