Post-modern literary trends


Ali Asghar

JADIDIYAT KE BAD (After Modernism): Gopi Chand Narang; Educational Publishing House, 3108, Vakil Street, Kucha Pindit, Lal Kuan, Delhi-110006. Rs. 400.

THE PROGRESSIVE and modernist movements were the two most outstanding events in literary theory in 20th Century India. Modernism emerged as a reaction against the progressive movement on the country's literary landscape.

Its main opposition was to propaganda, and the given party line, not to the essence of Marxism. But, in Urdu, modernism opposed every political thought, ideology, and social commitment.

This, the author maintains, was its greatest mistake.

The result was that as a reply to the party line, the modernist movement created an atmosphere of intellectual freedom, and emphasised literary values, yet unbinding literature from socialisation and historicism, it ignored the larger demands of literature.

Modernism no longer breathes freely in most Indian languages, and the modernist ideology of "solipsism, exile, ennui, and alienation" has been generally replaced by new critical perceptions.

According to Narang, at the global level, a new pluralistic philosophy of literature has sprouted, and progress made in literary criticism. This, in other words, would mean that the present age might be considered as one representing many ideas of literature, rather than one particular idea.

The failure of modernism has resulted in the invasion of various literary notions — structuralism, post-structuralism, phenomenalism, reader-response criticism, hermeneutics, intertextuality, deconstruction, new colonialism, feminism and others.

It may, therefore, be acknowledged that post-modernism is not monolithic and mono-centric, but polycentric and diversified. According to the author, at this moment, the greatest difficulty is that no formula-bound definition of post-modernism is possible, because, basically, post-modernism is against devising new formulas or issuing instructions.

In this collection of essays, primarily on recent trends in literary concepts after modernism, the author also analyses the new attitudes of literature as reflected in various forms of fiction in the Urdu language today. Likewise, the book contains stylistic appraisal of famous poets and story writers.

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