What is the meaning of self consciousness applied to postmodern literature (short story, novel, etc.)?



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Self-consciousness is one of the defining characteristics of postmodernism and scholars such as Linda Hutcheon integrate this feature in their definition of the phenomenon (see, for example, the Introduction to The Canadian Postmodern). With reference to postmodernism, self-consciousness means self-reflexivity, that is the work of art or of literature exhibits awareness of its being artificial or fictional. Postmodernist art or literature do not pretend, as a realist/naturalist work would, to be windows upon reality. They constantly call attention to their own artificiality and to the fact that they are based on previous literary/artistic works. This firmly positions literary and artistic works within the social and historical period in which they are produced and received. Self-reflexivity also highlights that literature and art are constantly reworking previous texts and works.

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