Date of Award

Summer 2003

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Gillespie, Michael P.

Second Advisor

Boly, John

Third Advisor

Duffy, Edward

Abstract

To investigate the nature of postmodern fiction today seems to imply a kind of retrospective venture, as if one could readily reappraise the defining features and notable qualities that gradually arose from general consensus. Yet, postmodern fiction offers to the scholar little that is unproblematically fixed, determined or resolutely definitive. Indeed, it is widely perceived that the idea of postmodernism and the limits of the postmodern novel refuse to be settled. This indeterminacy no longer occupies center stage in current debates, but addressing this problem of the indeterminate in postmodern fiction is to engage the most enigmatic proclivities of the field of literature in the second half of the twentieth century. The function of indeterminacy determines the culture of postmodernism, providing a paradox which informs the teleology of the postmodern, both literally and figuratively-a design against designation. As Linda Hutcheon remarked in an analysis of the 'subversive' process in postmodern fiction entitled "Discourse, Power, Ideology: Humanism and Postmodernism," ''the end result of the demystifying paradoxes is to ask us to question, but not to resolve" (1991, 117). Postmodern fiction, like postmodemism proper, "sits on the fence; it literally becomes a point of interrogation," it "remains questioning"...

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