Disquiet on the Western Front: World War II and Postmodern Fiction

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Aug 17, 2016 - 120 pages
This groundbreaking study looks at the evolution of the war novel, tracing the movement from the modernist novel that followed World War I to the postmodernist novel that followed World War II.

The book uses close readings of iconic literary texts such as Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse-Five to discover the origins of the postmodern zeitgeist. It concludes that postmodern narratives employing devices such as collage and pastiche and the fragmentation of the postmodern protagonist are a reaction to the vast scale of technological warfare and its accompanying atrocities.

This study also looks at Vietnam War novels, such as the novels of Tim O’Brien and demonstrates their debt to post-World War II novels and the postmodern zeitgeist. It concludes with an investigation of recent texts, and asks if the postmodern novel is being replaced by older, more traditional narrative strategies, or is simply on hiatus and will return to influence in future texts.


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World War II and Postmodernism

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About the author (2016)

Laurel Brett earned a PhD with her award-winning dissertation, “We're Not in Kansas Anymore: Thomas Pynchon’s Novels”, and has written about Pynchon for the Sunday New York Times. She has published essays, including “Where Were You” in the Nassau Review, and poems in Songs for Seasoned Women and Complements. She has also written and performed in two radio plays, and has had her poetry read at the United Nations. Dr Brett is currently working on a novel and teaches English, Intellectual History, and Women’s Studies at Nassau Community College, USA.

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