What are the contextual conditions which produced the Postmodern aesthetic in British literature and gave its writers their distinctive view of the world?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There will be many potential answers to this question.  In typical postmodern fashion, I am not entirely certain that one can identify a specific contextual condition.  Infact, being able to clearly define where certain conditions start and end is difficult in analyzing how postmodern thought impacts British expressions of the period.  I think that the overall condition that all of these writers attempt to articulate is how individuals can make sense of the disharmony and the fragmentation of the modern setting.  This striving for making sense of a world devoid of it is something that can be seen in these writers.  For example, Pinter's dramas depict characters who start off with a sense of the banal around them and end up questioning their place in their own universe and whether or not a structure is present. Similar conditions can be found in Lessing's work where a variety of expressions of political and social good help to identify how individual can bring a sense of collective good to a setting where individualism has run amok.  In the work of Naipaul, the theme of self exile and individuals attempting to find a shelter from a rootless existence is one of the conditions that helps to bring about the different valence of voice.  In these thinkers the primary contextual condition that drives each might be the sensibility that there is an absence of structure in the world.  In its place, these thinkers inject different narrative voices, means of expression, and transformation of standard expression to create a realm of what can be as opposed to what is.

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