What are the themes and stylistic characteristics of Postmodern literature?

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litgeek2015 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Postmodern literature has many distinct stylistic characteristics that set it apart from other styles of writing.

"In many of these works, the authors abandon the concept of an ordered universe, linear narratives, and traditional forms to suggest the malleability of truth and question the nature of reality itself, dispensing with the idea of a universal ordering scheme in favor of artifice, temporality and a reliance on irony" (eNotes Study Guide)

Postmodern literature often examines very serious and even dark subjects through the use of black humor. Meta fiction is also a characteristic of Postmodern writing, meaning that the writing is about writing, causing the writer and the reader to constantly reflect on the process.

Here are some common themes seen in Postmodern literature and one example of each:

  • War: Catch 22
  • Disease: The Plague
  • Crime: American Psycho
  • Drugs: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • Paranoia: Slaughterhouse Five

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