What exactly is post modernism and how does it differ from modernism?
That is a great question, and though it is technically easy to answer, making the answer understandable (considering that I don't even fully grasp it) can be a bit rougher. Based on what I understand, here is the gist of it. I hope it helps:
Modernism, as applied to many areas:
- Modernism believes that things can be proved by logic and science which can be used to "govern" the world.
- People are free to choose their own path in life.
- "High Culture" deserves study, while "low culture" does not.
- Symbols have distinct meaning.
- Art is supposed to fight capitalism.
- Serious themes and purposes in art.
- There is an ultimate meaning to a piece of fiction, best discovered by critics who are skilled at it.
- Mass marketing and creation of products.
- A sense of clear boundaries between art, music, and writing.
Compare these ideas with some of the post-modern ones:
- We cannot hope to "govern" the forces of the world through logic and science,
- People think they are free to choose a path, but they are not. Many subtle (and not so subtle) forces guide people's choices.
- All culture is "popular culture" and deserves equal treatment.
- The meaning of symbols is fluid and not set.
- Art is consumed by capitalism.
- Art can be ironic and playful.
- There is no ultimate meaning to fiction...people get out of the text what they bring into the text.
- Niche products.
- The lines blur between life and art, and one form of artistic expression and another.
In short, Post Modernism is a rejection of Modernism.