This is the modern world
The Prisoner, authorship and allegory
in Popular television drama
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This chapter discusses The Prisoner's precocious concern with the staples of postmodern criticism as simulation, consumption and identity. It addresses questions of authorship and genre, and considers how and the extent to which The Prisoner can be seen as allegorical. As namelessness, the erasure of names and the use of characteristics rather than proper names suggests, The Prisoner stands outside the critically dominant realist traditions of television drama and attracts allegorical interpretation. The Prisoner depicts a post-austerity Britain, modern and affluent, but weighed down by history and tradition. In addition to the tension between levels of meaning in its postmodernist allegory, The Prisoner, like Jason King, confuses ontological levels through metaleptic game-playing. On both narrative and formal levels, and for both characters and viewers, The Prisoner draws upon and evokes the paranoid centripetal drive of the subject-emergent-in-construction and that subject's self-constituting paranoid drive to construct meanings.

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