>Postmodernism Revisited


Okay, enough is enough. I’ve read most classic literature, and I’ll get back to it. But it’s time to flex my postmodernism muscles.

I started American Psycho last year and put it down after a hundred fifty pages. I picked it up again this morn and remembered the wave of disgust that it left me with. The violence, crudity and pornography all make for a page-turner, but the true skill of Ellis is when he describes men’s fashion; when he delves into the psycho’s mind as he wonders about whether his lover would love him more if she weren’t cheating on her boyfriend; and when he notes the evasive eye contact of enemies.

Generally, however, I feel sick after reading it, and I wonder whether it’s a testament to the power of the work. Does good art inspire visceral disgust? Or is that a symptom of entertaining middle-brow work? I touched on this in my Black Swan post, and want to suggest the latter.

This is termed the grotesque. We continue reading to see if the grotesque can be conquered, but in this case, it is the reader who has been conquered, fooled. Thus the postmodernism. But something tells me that the best works of art do not invite reaction by appealing to the most basic human emotions, but rather, to the loftiest. 

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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