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Bachelor Thesis from the year 2011 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, University of Passau, language: English, abstract: Flaubert's Parrot, Julian Barnes's most acclaimed novel worldwide, poses and playfully elaborates on questions about traditional(ist) understandings of history and conventional concepts of truth, which are also frequently asked by postmodern theorists and philosophers. How can we know the past? Can we ever do so on objective grounds? Are we not bound to (socio-culturally determined) modes of representation that prevent us from thinking or writing about anything but representation? Does the past even exist outside of our systems of signification or is it merely the product of these systems?In postmodern thought these kinds of questions are raised in the context of an increasing scepticism towards realist or modernist ontology and epistemology. Philosophers and writers such as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and later Hayden White and Keith Jenkins testify to the assumption that "history now appears to be just one more foundationless, positioned expression in a world of foundationless, positioned expressions" (Jenkins 1997: 6), stressing that there is an inescapable relativity in every representation (or rather re-interpretation) of historical entities (cf. White 1997: 392).However, in this paper I will hope to show that, despite it being "a very hard [and indeterminate] act to follow" (Barth 1980: 66), history is not dead in Barnes's novel and neither is the pursuit of (its) meaning. In fact, both remain subjects of a longing for truth and authenticity that is repeatedly re-invented, played with, undermined and reinstalled, rather than deconstructed, in the course of FP's narrative.I intend to divide my paper into two sections, each of them further divided into several sub-parts. In section one I will at first provide a short compendium of postmodern philosophical-theoretical assumptions on history and historiography and their relation to the (de)construction of representation, truth and knowledge and thereafter show how these assumptions are critically acclaimed by traditional(ist) historians. With this theoretical background at hand, in section two I will proceed to the actual analysis of FP with regard to its appropriation of or divergence from postmodern thoughts and (literary) presuppositions. In so doing I will hope to show that, although inspired by postmodern theories, Barnes does not dwell in eternal indeterminacy or 'historic nihilism' but attempts to actively engage with history and the difficulties involved in the process of its pursuit.
- Akademische Schriftenreihe Bd.V187712
- Verlag: GRIN Verlag
- 2. Aufl.
- Seitenzahl: 36
- Erscheinungstermin: 4. Februar 2012
- Abmessung: 210mm x 148mm x 2mm
- Gewicht: 68g
- ISBN-13: 9783656114451
- ISBN-10: 3656114455
- Artikelnr.: 34946597
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