Postmodernism is the prevailing philosophy today

Postmodern to the present

American History of Literature pp 305-392 | Cite as


The second half of the 20th century is commonly referred to as the age of postmodernism, which follows modernism, which has been dated and defined differently. It is characterized by the rapid succession and interrelation of decisive developments in the political, cultural and social fields. These developments seem to follow a twofold underlying tendency. On the one hand, compared to the more collective social orientations of the first half of the century, especially the 1930s, a clear individualization of the worldview and an increased awareness of the relativity and partiality of self-images and worldviews can be observed. On the other hand, the replacement of traditional ideas of society and culture, which was already initiated in modern times, is taking place at an accelerated pace, both in the alienating sense of the progressive anonymization of life relationships and the often traumatic loss of secured values ​​and patterns of identity, as well as in the liberating sense of the design of new, alternative forms of life and community based on pluralistic, increasingly ecologically oriented forms of thinking and artistic creation. In keeping with the diversity of this transition, American literature that has emerged since the middle of the century ranges from conventional, realistic forms of representation to radical experiments and a pragmatic approach to post-colonial life situations. On the one hand, it reflects the positive and negative effects of an electronic age and, on the other hand, it creates possibilities for a hierarchy-free coexistence in a multicultural society.

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