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Compare the anti-aesthetic of postmodern theory with the ideas Linda Hutcheon Discusses in her essays - Essay Example

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Ann Evans Locker Professor Manijeh Mannani ENGL 423, Literary Theory and Criticism July 4, 2011 The anti-aesthetic of postmodernism: new literary definition or just critique? “The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture” was an influential postmodernist compilation edited by Hal Foster (1983) with contributing authors Jean Baudrillard, Douglas Crimp, Kenneth Frampton, Jurgen Hambermas, Frederic Jameson, Rosalind Kraus, Craig Owens, Edward W…
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Compare the anti-aesthetic of postmodern theory with the ideas Linda Hutcheon Discusses in her essays
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Download file to see previous pages It is the purpose of this paper to compare the theory and practice of the anti-aesthetic in postmodern culture through its affect on literature and art, as well as its influence on society, referencing Foster’s compilation together with Linda Hutcheon’s (1989) work, “The Politics of Postmodernism.” This essay will discuss the similarities between the authors’ definitions of postmodernism and the manner in which their definition of an anti-aesthetic acts as a critique of the both the modern and classical views of art and society. Postmodernism seeks to establish new fundamentals for a subjective rather than objective theory of art, philosophy, and literature that goes authentically beyond the biases inherent in modernism. Foster’s definition of postmodernism, as noted in his preface to “The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays in Postmodern Culture” (1983), is based fundamentally in a “conflict of new and old modes – cultural and economic.” (Foster, 1983, p.xi) This conflict can be traced directly to the dialectical materialism of Marxism, though postmodernism is decidedly a post-Marxist philosophy defined, as Jameson wrote, by the logic of late capitalism. Baudrillard’s writing relates equally to the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School, which sought to reinterpret Marxist fundamentals in light of the changing cultural logic of Western society, as it does to the Situationist movement led by Guy Debord and the writing of Michel Foucault in France. The failure of Marxism in the West in achieving its social justice goals or soteriological function was not yet fully evident in 1983 when the Foster compilation was published. Similarly, the vast societal changes of the internet and globalization had not developed at that time in the West either on a historical basis. Because of this, Foster’s introduction of postmodern theorists to America at this time had an important influence on the development of art and literature in the 1980’s that developed through the new media in the 1990’s. Foster’s aim in this compilation is to allow the reader to contemplate the various views of the different postmodernist authors, including their distinctive mediums of art and literature, in order to show the separate, yet similar way of thinking about the anti-aesthetic that joins this movement. Drawing upon the themes of post-Marxist criticism of consumer society and the commoditization of “the real”, postmodernism expresses a rejection of middle class values and lifestyle, critically transforming the imperialistic aspects of consumerism with a new anti-aesthetic of art. Fredric Jameson’s work firmly established the post-Marxist critique at the center of postmodernism when he emphasized the logic of late capitalism in its definition, and his work was even more influential than Foster’s in America in disseminating the theory of postmodernism to a larger audience. Jameson notes that he “laments the lack of critical capacities to which postmodern subjects have access, and analyses present capitalist cultural production in terms of a dehistoricized spatial pastiche.” (Foster, 1983, p.xx) Jameson states in his essay ‘Postmodernism and Consumer Society’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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