Steven Earnshaw
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Before, during and after postmodernism
in Beginning realism
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Towards the latter half of the nineteenth century a new aesthetic, predominantly European in its earlier incarnations, reacts against Realism and produces what is collectively termed 'modernism'. Towards the end of the 1950s and beginning of the 1960s a new aesthetic came to dominate, called 'postmodernism'. If modernism and Realism had some common points of contact, the relationship between Realism and postmodernism is completely antithetical and antagonistic. Much of what has been said about postmodern writing applies to magical realism. This chapter provides a detailed account of Postmodernism and magical realism by considering two exemplary texts, namely Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale and Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. It looks at Joshua Ferris's Then We Came to the End, which describes the minutiae of everyday life in the office of an advertising agency, with the unusual device of using the first-person plural for its narrative perspective.

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