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It is important, then, to identify why contemporaneous fiction has not been as popular since the modernist era, and why Jameson and Hutcheon believe that postmodern fiction relies on historical play. Luckily, these questions inevitably have the same answer. The early decades of the postmodern period were full of significant changes that altered the American sociopolitical landscape. With the economy booming after World War II, and the G.I. Bill allowing returned veterans the chance to finish their educations or start businesses, America began making slow progress toward an inclusive policy of diversity, allowing the stories and experiences of non-Whites, non-Christians, nonheterosexuals, and non-males mainstream circulation. For the first time, minority writers were able to share their stories without a limited audience, and they had many tales to tell; they played catch up with centuries of literature focused outside their spectrums of experience, making sure to retell history as they had seen it. The emergent postmodern movement dove into nostalgia and historiographic metafiction in order to offer up vibrant novels and poetry that were truer than history. Thus, the postmodern face Jameson and Hutcheon saw and critiqued dripped heavily with such historical play and allowed contemporaneous fiction to slip past quietly, and unnoticed. The gaps left by currently accepted postmodern academic theories are not difficult to identify, but they will not be as easy to close. Such an action, as previously stated, will require scholars to admit that postmodernists are capable of embracing the present as it is, without utilizing the historical play that Jameson and Hutcheon argue defines their work. In order to accept contemporaneous literature, such as “Separating,” as postmodern, scholarship must recognize the paradox of denying it as such: if postmodernism describes more than literature, art, and film—if it describes culture—then those who live in it have, by necessity, been shaped by it. Writers, then, who have lived and worked over the last seven decades, must be considered postmodern; just as they shape their works, the period, in turn, shapes them. The simplest solution to the problem of the definitional gap is to cover the gaps broadly, with an explanation or definition such as the above, so that contemporaneous literature is held in as full regard as its nostalgic and historiographic cohorts. Admittedly, this argument does nothing to solve the problem of finding the next period in American literature. However, if it will allow postmodern authors to accept the present, then perhaps it will also aid them in sallying forth into the future. Works Cited Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 6th ed. Vol. E. New York: W. W. Norton, 2003. Print. Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction. New York: Routledge, 1988. Google Books. Web. 5 Mar 2014. Jacobellis vs. Ohio. 378 U.S. 197. Supreme Court of the United States. 1964. Justia. Web. 5 Mar 2014. Jameson, Fredric. “Postmodernism and Consumer Society.” University of California, Santa Cruz. 1983. Web. 5 Mar 2014. PDF. “University of Kent Expert Professor Feargal Cochrane: Canterbury’s Bomb Scare and Northern Ireland.” Canterbury Times 14 Feb 2014. Web. 6 Mar 2014. Updike, John. “Separating.” Baym 2268-76. ELF 2015 (Vol. 6) 14


English Literary File_Vol 6
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