John Banville : arguments of postmodernity
Wan, Jasmine Xiang Ling
Date of Issue2013
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
I begin my paper with the observation that one often finds John Banville’s works being read as ‘postmodern’ by scholars in the critical discourse about the author’s fiction. I will proceed to demonstrate that this concept of Banville’s writings being ‘postmodern’ is taken for granted by many academics but is actually rather unstable. My exposition shall thus address the dearth of literature dealing particularly with the tenuous relationship between Banville’s compositions and postmodernism by seeking to determine which characteristics of Banville’s texts make them postmodern. To do so, I will define postmodernism and use its definition to identify the postmodern aspects of the writer’s novels. I contend that postmodernism possesses three distinguishing elements—lack of a single definition, self-contradiction, and a debated existence—which appear, counter-intuitively, to prevent it from being defined. This contention shapes the overall structure of my essay, which has three chapters—each one expounds one of the three elements and responds to its apparent self-undermining—flanked by my introduction and conclusion. Within the chapters, I will be using Banville’s works to contextualise my discussions of the aforementioned traits of postmodernism as this allows me to illustrate the postmodern nature of his fiction in the process.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University