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An Overview Of Postmodernism Essay

2754 words - 11 pages

The political climate at the beginning of the 1940’s and the changes taking place all around the world drastically influenced the face of contemporary society. The invasion of Poland by Germany on 1st of September 1939 was the first stone thrown in the face of freedom of expression and liberty out of the many that followed for the next decades. The dawn of the Second World War was one of the premises that forced many European artists, pioneers par excellence in their field, through their French or German inherited status, to immigrate across the ocean. Due to the exile, the art centre also moved overseas, from Paris to New York, offering a new opportunity for American art to be the initiator in what was generally accepted as the new tendencies in arts. These changes brought new opportunities for the other social categories to express themselves. From feminists to gay, African-Americans to Mexican immigrants, gradually, these groups found an open window towards freedom of expression in arts and literature alongside their fight for social inclusion and acceptance. It is in this background that Postmodernism started taking shape and became a common ground on which practitioners from all social domains would produce their work. There are many voices debating the meanings of postmodernism, discussing its validity or simply denying it. Some claim that it never happened while some are daring enough to put a clear beginning date on it or its deadline. One might say that the invalidity of postmodernism that some critics claimed might be, paradoxically, a characteristic of the movement.

According to the Oxford Dictionary (2010), postmodernism is:

“a late 20th -century style and concept in the arts, architecture, and criticism, which represents a departure from modernism and is characterized by the self-conscious use of earlier styles and conventions, a mixing of different artistic styles and media, and a general distrust of theories”.

This description is trying to clearly position postmodernism in a specific time frame and outline its main characteristics. However, when consulting the Macmillan Dictionary (2010) the description offered is significantly less conclusive:

“ideas, attitudes, or styles of art, literature, or thinking that have developed after
modernism, often as a reaction against ”

The main accent is set on the chronological aspect of postmodernism and its logical and historical flow offering the reader not enough information to identify a clear period or any particular feature. Only by comparing the two definitions, a very small part of the available explanations on the subject, and at the same time reading them together one can identify one of the main components of the movement: diversity in all its aspects. The difference in these definitions is not just a simple coincidence and should be taken as a figure of speech for the description of the entire period. During this time critics and writers, artists and architects...

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