Framing the Margins: The Social Logic of Postmodern Culture

Paperback | January 1, 1988

byPhillip Brian Harper

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This dramatic rereading of postmodernism seeks to broaden current theoretical conceptions of the movement as both a social-philosophical condition and a literary and cultural phenomenon. Phil Harper contends that the fragmentation considered to be characteristic of the postmodern age can infact be traced to the status of marginalized groups in the United States since long before the contemporary era. This status is reflected in the work of American writers from the thirties through the fifties whom Harper addresses in this study, including Nathanael West, Anais Nin, Djuna Barnes,Ralph Ellison, and Gwendolyn Brooks. Treating groups that are disadvantaged or disempowered whether by circumstance of gender, race, or sexual orientation, the writers profiled here occupy the cusp between the modern and the postmodern; between the recognizably modernist aesthetic of alienation andthe fragmented, disordered sensibility of postmodernism. Proceeding through close readings of these literary texts in relation to various mass-cultural productions, Harper examines the social placement of the texts in the scope of literary history while analyzing more minutely the interior effectsof marginalization implied by the fictional characters enacting these narratives. In particular, he demonstrates how these works represent the experience of social marginality as highly fractured and fracturing, and indicates how such experience is implicated in the phenomenon of postmodernistfragmentation. Harper thus accomplishes the vital task of recentering cultural focus on issues and groups that are decentered by very definition, and thereby specifies the sociopolitical significance of postmodernism in a way that has not yet been done.

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From Our Editors

Treating groups that are disadvantaged or disempowered whether by circumstance of gender, race, or sexual orientation, the writers profiled here occupy the cusp between the modern and the postmodern; between the recognizably modernist aesthetic of alienation and the fragmented, disordered sensibility of post modernism.

From the Publisher

This dramatic rereading of postmodernism seeks to broaden current theoretical conceptions of the movement as both a social-philosophical condition and a literary and cultural phenomenon. Phil Harper contends that the fragmentation considered to be characteristic of the postmodern age can infact be traced to the status of marginalized g...

Phillip Brian Harper is at Harvard University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.27 × 5.51 × 0.75 inPublished:January 1, 1988Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195082397

ISBN - 13:9780195082395

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From Our Editors

Treating groups that are disadvantaged or disempowered whether by circumstance of gender, race, or sexual orientation, the writers profiled here occupy the cusp between the modern and the postmodern; between the recognizably modernist aesthetic of alienation and the fragmented, disordered sensibility of post modernism.

Editorial Reviews

"Harper's book seeks at once to broaden our understanding of the postmodern condition and to make our discussion of it more complex and specific....In the breadth of its readings and the rigor of its argument, Framing the Margins is one of the most illuminating books on postmodernism that Ihave read..."--Papers on Language and Literature