What succeeds postmodern fiction? Milan Kundera’s ignorance, John Banville’s the sea, and Julian Barnes’ the sense of an ending
Cheong, Adel Xian Hui
Date of Issue2016
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
The question of what comes after postmodern fiction is a key consideration of contemporary fiction, particularly with respect to novels centred on new ways of making art, while still exhibiting the use of postmodern discursive techniques to different effects. With this paradigmatic shift, the fiction of our time must be understood in relation to both the history and future of the novel. Focusing on the ‘traditional’ and ‘experimental’ conventions of fiction, I will illustrate the centrality of Milan Kundera’s Ignorance, John Banville’s The Sea, and Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending, as works of contemporary fiction. This thesis begins with a consideration of the ways in which these novels continue to engage with age-old questions about the relationship of reality and fiction from a counter-realist tradition, while suggesting different possibilities for the novel.